Man, 28, who accidentally caused three day blaze on Marsden Moor that was tackled by 100 firefighters after he set off a firework in front of his girlfriend is jailed for a year
A man has been jailed for accidentally causing a three day moorland blaze that was tackled by more than 100 firefighters after he set off a firework in front of his girlfriend.
Viktor Riedly 28, headed up Marsden Moor, in Yorkshire, on the evening of April 25, 2021, where he lit the explosive, igniting the large blaze.
Leeds Crown Court heard he tried to extinguish the flames but it soon spread out of control, covering 285 hectares of moorland.
It was eventually declared a major incident, with more than 100 firefighters coming from across West Yorkshire to bring it under control, before it was finally extinguished three days later on the morning of April 28.
The fire caused widespread damage to Marsden Moor, which is a site of special scientific interest, and was estimated to have cost £500,000 in damage and emergency service resources.
Riedly pleaded guilty to one count of arson and was today jailed for a year.
A major fire raged on Marsden Moor for three days after Viktor Riedly lit a firework in front of his girlfriend in April 2021
More than 100 firefighters were called in to tackle the flames which covered 285 hectares of moorland
Speaking following the verdict, West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service Area Manager Scott Donegan said: ‘We as a service very much welcome the sentence handed out today and hope it reminds others not to start fires on our moorland.
‘This fire caused huge damage to the environment on the moor and required a large response from WYFRS.
‘Fires like these are the reason we have Public Space Protection Orders banning flammable items like fireworks, barbeques and fires on moorland – they can have a devastating impact on the brilliant spaces we are lucky enough to have in West Yorkshire.’
Riedly had intended to film the firework being set off, with his girlfriend carrying the recording equipment up the moorland, but it caused a major fire. Pictured: a helicopter drops water onto the burning moorland
Riedly told Leeds Crown Court he had tried unsuccessfully to put the fire out with a bottle of water and his own clothing
Leeds Crown Court heard Riedly had attempted to film the firework being set off, with his girlfriend carrying the recording equipment up the moorland.
But after realising something had gone wrong he tried unsuccessfully to put the fire out with a bottle of water and his own clothing.
The fire quickly spread and was declared a major incident while firefighters, the National Trust, local authorities and local community groups worked at the scene.
The extent of the damage caused on Marsden Moor in the days after the fire was extinguished. It was estimated to have cost £500,000 in damage and emergency service resources
The fire destroyed precious peatland habitat and harmed wildlife including ground nesting birds.
The fire service said recovery work following the fire has already begun, with 65,000 sphagnum moss plugs planted across Marsden Moor over autumn and winter.
Most of the planting has been done by volunteers, including local school children and firefighters from Meltham and Slaithwaite Fire Station.