A CONSERVATION chief fears a ‘summer of hell’ after a barbecue was confiscated near a moorland site wrecked by fire last week.

And the horrific fire that burned for three days ripping through more than 1,000 acres of fragile Marsden Moor last week, cost more than £200,000 in damage and resources to combat.

National Trust assessors are still working on the final cost which includes damage to fences, habitat and hire of a water-carrying helicopter to quell the blaze.

They will be presented in a report to the Crown Prosecution Service who are examining if a man who had fireworks on the moor should face charges after being interviewed by West Yorkshire detectives.

Revealing the state of the damage exclusively to the Oldham Times, Craig Best, the National Trust West Yorkshire operations manager, said: “I just sincerely hope we are not in for a summer of hell.”

He was commenting after a family group had a barbecue confiscated after being spotted by volunteer rangers and firefighters on Sunday in the Wassenden Head car park off the A635 Greenfield to Holmfirth Road.

“It is unbelievable just a week after a major fire people are trying to bring barbecues back to the moor despite them being banned,” he said.

Meanwhile he thanked locals who volunteered to help with a community moorland fire watch over the bank holiday weekend.

He said: “Fire crews from West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service and National Trust rangers are out patrolling this weekend, but we can’t be everywhere at once, so really appreciate if anyone wants to help.”

Area Manager for West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service, Scott Donegan confirmed last week the most recent Marsden Moor fire, which started on Sunday, April 25 had damaged a two square-mile area of land.

At its height more than 100 firefighters from West Yorkshire and Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service’s tackled the blaze during a 60-hour operation, in what was declared a major incident.

It was centred around valuable National Trust land near Black Moss Reservoir and Swellands Reservoir.

Though in a separate area it followed an even more serious fire at Marsden Moor in 2019, which destroyed 700 hectares of land.