Monday, 6 July 2015

Fires at Holkham

It’s the time of year when on warm sunny evenings we dust off our old camping gear, check the tent doesn’t have any holes, pack a rucksack full of things we deem essential and set out to find a little corner of the world you can call your own for an evening. However, Holkham NNR, as well as all nature reserves in North Norfolk, has a strict no camping, no bonfire, no gas stove, no barbecue policy. Many people see this as overzealous but these activities pose a very real threat to the nature reserve, wildlife and public, and are sadly a regular problem for the warden team.

Found just in time.

Dunes are a slow functioning ecosystem, they take a along time to recover from damage caused by fire. Whether started accidentally or deliberately fires can quickly become uncontrollable and unpredictable. They can destroy large areas of habitat and kill countless animals. Visitors often think they have put out their bonfire or disposed of their barbecue safely but people don’t realise how hot barbecues get and how the heat from a fire or barbecue can spread by travelling underground and popping up away from the original source, causing a wildfire. This is exactly what happened a week ago. There would have been severe irreversible damage to the pinewoods if a diligent member of the public hadn’t noticed a fire spreading and notified the fire brigade. It took the fire brigade almost 1000 litres of water to put it out.

Yellows Birds Nest is an orchid found only in a few sites in Norfolk.
Fire can have a devastating effect on this fragile and rare plant.

People come to Holkham National Nature Reserve for different reasons. Some people come to see wildlife, some come to enjoy a day on the beach while others walk through the reserve on the Norfolk Coast Path, everyone however wants to be inspired by the beauty of the reserve. Holkham is a source of endless enjoyment for everyone, so let’s work together to preserve this spectacular place.

The pinewood is at risk from wildfires

Please report any fires to the fire brigade immediately and if possible try to give your location and any landmarks. Do not try and put any fires out yourself under any circumstances.
Jonathan Holt