2019 United Kingdom wildfires

2019 United Kingdom wildfires
Saddleworth moor wildfire 2019.jpg
Saddleworth Moor wildfire on 26 February
Location United Kingdom
Date(s)26 February 2019 (2019-02-26) – present
Burned areaOver 39,537 acres (16,000 ha)[1][2]
Causedrought and hot temperatures
Land useAgriculture, tourism
Buildings destroyedUnknown
Wildfire data for the UK between 2011 and 23 April 2019

The 2019 United Kingdom wildfires are a series of wildfires which began on 26 February 2019, with the most recent fires occurring on 23 April 2019.[3] These series of fires are most remarkable because they are happening at such an early date in the year. To add to this, these lands were already damaged by wildfires that burnt for months during the summer of 2018. The fires have created many air pollution problems for the UK.[4] The causes of most of the fires have been attributed to much higher than average temperatures and drought conditions that have prevailed since the spring of 2018.[2][5] As of 23 April, the number of wildfires in the UK in 2019 is at 96. This beats the previous record of 79 from 2018.[6]


February 2019 saw the highest winter temperature ever recorded in the United Kingdom, at 21.2 °C (70.2 °F) on the 26th in Kew Gardens, London.[7] In addition to this, England, Scotland and Wales all broke their regional temperature records, with England and Wales exceeding 20.0 °C (68.0 °F) in winter for the first time.[8]

Saddleworth Moor

On 26 February, a fire broke out on Saddleworth Moor. This fire burned for two days and was not treated as suspicious. The area burnt was not as large as the 2018 fires, only amounting to roughly 350 acres (142 ha).[2] 40 firefighters had to tackle the blaze.[9]

Arthur's Seat

The wildfire at Arthur's Seat, Edinburgh, broke out on 27 February, and was not as large as the fire at Saddleworth Moor. However, around 800 square metres (957 sq yd) were burnt. The fire lasted throughout the night, until 2:45 AM on the 28th. There were no reports of any injuries.[10]

West Sussex

On 26 February, two separate blazes started in Ashdown Forest in Sussex, England, within one hour of each other. At least 65 firefighters were in attendance at both blazes, with a third fire breaking out after the second, just 2 miles (3 km) away.[11] These were the first wildfires to occur in the region for 4 years.[12] The fires destroyed 35 hectares (86 acres) of land.[11] The fires were out by 1 March.[13]


A week-long warm spell around Easter sent temperatures up to 26 °C (79 °F) across parts of England. This, combined with drought conditions still prevailing, caused wildfires across many areas.[14] This led to the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service to issue a warning for wildfires on 19 April.[15]


Moray wildfire on 23rd April.

Mid April

On Saturday 13 April at around 18:50, firefighters were called to Ballindalloch and Dalmellington. The blazes were both fully extinguished at around 15:20 on the 15th. In total, 35 firefighters were brought to fight the blaze, along with a helicopter, that was used to water-bomb the blaze. The fire is thought to have burnt around 5 miles (8.0 km) of land. The severity of the fire was made worse by the 'rough terrain', meaning it was virtually in an 'inaccessible location'.[16]

Late April

A wildfire broke out in Knockando, Scotland on the 22nd around 3pm. It was described as 'one of the largest fires the UK has seen in years'. In the first day, the fire destroyed more than 25 square miles (16,000 acres). The blaze created a plume of smoke that could be seen from space.[17] By the 25th, firefighters thought they had tackled most of the blaze and left the scene. However, they were called back on the 26th when it was reignited. This further fire destroyed 50 square kilometres (19 sq mi), as of the 29th. At its height, around 80 firefighters, two helicopters, 19 fire engines and specialist resources were called upon to help tackle the fire, which was on four fronts. At its height, around 80 firefighters, two helicopters, 19 fire engines and specialist resources were called upon to help tackle the fire, which was on four fronts.[18]. Additionally, the fire caused several nearby properties to be evacuated.[19] The fire was fully extinguished by 9 May.


On 23 April, blazes spanning 7 miles (11 km) broke out on Dartmoor. Eight crews tackled the fire, with the first arriving around 18:20 on the 23rd. The fire was successfully extinguished by the 24th.[20]

West Yorkshire

All wildfires in the UK between 1 Jan and 30 Apr 2019

On 20 April, a fire broke out on Ilkley Moor, which was described as 'something out of a movie' by witnesses. The fire destroyed 50 acres of moorland.[21] A fire also broke out on Marsden Moor. This fire destroyed at least 700 acres of land. However, it was extinguished the following day. In total, there has been 6 wildfire on these Moors since January.[22]


On 13 May, a wildfire warning was issued for parts of Scotland as temperatures were expected to rise above average, combined with the long drought, creating perfect conditions for wildfires to occur.


On Thursday 16 May a wildfire was spotted at Johnstripe near Dunphail, south of Forres in Moray, Scotland. This was the 3rd fire to affect the area since April. However, this fire was not as large, at first, burning only 1sq Mile on the first day. The blaze effected electricity supplies to residents. The blaze was attributed to a prolonged drought, accompanied by warmer than average temperatures. [23] The blaze lasted for 4 days, as light rain fell on the area, helping to put the flames out.[24]


A fire started between Melvich and Strathy in Sutherland on 12 May and was burning for 6 days until light rain fell, helping to extinguish flames. Residents described it as 'one of the worst fired they'd ever seen in the area'.[25]


  1. ^ "Inferno Britain Firefighters battling five separate wildfires across Britain after fire 'started by barbecue' destroys 700 acres of moorland". The Sun. News Group Newspapers Limited. 22 April 2019. Retrieved 23 April 2019.
  2. ^ a b c Gianluca Mezzofiore and Kieron Mirchandani (27 February 2019). "Wildfires break out across the UK after hottest winter day on record". CNN. Retrieved 23 April 2019.
  3. ^ "Wildfires take hold on mountainsides and in forestry". WalesOnline. Retrieved 23 April 2019.
  4. ^ Victoria Gill (27 February 2019). "Why are there UK wildfires in February?". British Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 23 April 2019.
  5. ^ "UK weather: Hottest day of the year, says Met Office". British Broadcasting Corporation. 20 April 2019. Retrieved 23 April 2019.
  6. ^ https://www.newscientist.com/article/2200502-the-uk-has-already-had-more-wildfires-in-2019-than-any-year-on-record/
  7. ^ Aamna Mohdin (27 February 2019). "UK experiences hottest winter day ever as 21.2C is recorded in London". The Guardian. Guardian News & Media Limited. Retrieved 23 April 2019.
  8. ^ "UK climate - Extremes". Met Office. 2019. Retrieved 23 April 2019.
  9. ^ Josh Halliday (28 February 2019). "Firefighters tackle huge blaze on Saddleworth Moor". The Guardian. Guardian News & Media Limited. Retrieved 23 April 2019.
  10. ^ "Firefighters tackle Arthur's Seat blaze". British Broadcasting Corporation. 27 February 2019. Retrieved 23 April 2019.
  11. ^ a b Georgia Diebelius (26 February 2019). "Wildfires destroy part of Winnie the Pooh's 'Hundred Acre Wood' as UK temperatures hit record high". Metro News. Retrieved 23 April 2019.
  12. ^ Lucy Connolly. "Wildfires Destroy Winnie The Pooh's Hundred Acre Wood". Unilad. Retrieved 23 April 2019.
  13. ^ "Ashdown Forest wildfires begun 'accidentally". British Broadcasting Corporation. 1 March 2019. Retrieved 24 April 2019.
  14. ^ https://www.trevorharley.com/weather-april.html
  15. ^ https://www.aol.co.uk/news/2019/04/19/fire-service-warns-of-wildfire-risk-over-easter-weekend/?guccounter=1&guce_referrer=aHR0cHM6Ly93d3cuZ29vZ2xlLmNvbS8&guce_referrer_sig=AQAAACZdd_SMlyCzF6K9VTqygs8eHYF-1n5zvGHVAkINGRPac5gLdeSQ28Mfc17kZfpQxuocxS4zqfqVqNOKARDgnq_nWZNzU0J4jW3bcW3GnGiEqNabkphcGijp29UdwmAx9LCKnmym7LZ4Hv5dYo5lqfb8jMUV3_iPa0C9F4GVm_JF
  16. ^ https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-47925850
  17. ^ https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-north-east-orkney-shetland-48043860
  18. ^ https://metro.co.uk/2019/04/26/satellite-image-shows-huge-scale-devastating-wildfire-scotland-9324280/
  19. ^ https://metro.co.uk/2019/04/26/satellite-image-shows-huge-scale-devastating-wildfire-scotland-9324280/
  20. ^ https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/8923635/dartmoor-flames-wildfires-hit-britain/
  21. ^ https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2019/04/20/wildfires-spread-across-moorland-hottest-day-year/
  22. ^ Halliday, Josh (22 April 2019). "Huge area of Yorkshire moorland destroyed by fire". The Guardian. Retrieved 17 June 2019.
  23. ^ https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-48321589
  24. ^ https://www.pressandjournal.co.uk/fp/news/moray/1751603/evacuation-fears-as-fight-against-latest-moray-wildfire-entered-third-day/
  25. ^ https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-highlands-islands-48308196

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