Man jailed after setting off firework which sparked huge Marsden Moor blaze

Over 100 firefighters tackled the fire at its height in April 2021. Credit: West Yorkshire Fire Service

A man has been jailed after setting off a firework which started a huge fire on Marsden Moor.

More than 100 firefighters were called to respond after 285 hectares of moorland caught light when Viktor Riedly, 28, lit a firework on 25 April last year.

Leeds Crown Court heard that Riedly tried to extinguish the fire but that it soon spread out of control.

The fire burnt for three days, with crews from across West Yorkshire being brought in to deal with the incident.

Riedly, of Henry Street, Huddersfield, admitted one count of arson and was jailed for a year.

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."

The fire has widely damaged habitats on the moorland. Credit: ITV News

The fire caused widespread damage to the peatland habitat on the moor. It is estimated to have cost around £500,000 in damage and emergency resources.

Volunteers have been attempting to restore habitats lost in the fire by planting sphagnum moss plugs, which help to restore peat and capture carbon as well as reduce the risk of future wildfires.