HOW sad it is to see the flames and palls of smoke above Marsden Moor once more.

We are so very lucky in this part of the world to have such spectacular and beautiful scenery literally on our doorstep.

But is an environment that also needs our care and attention, especially at vulnerable times.

A few days of dry weather can turn the hundreds of acres of moorland into a tinderbox, leaving it at the mercy of a carelessly-discarded cigarette from a car window or a shaft of sunlight glinting off a broken bottle.

We may never know the cause of last night’s huge moorland blaze – the second in just 12 days – but we will know the cost in terms of damage to wildlife and nature.

Nesting birds will have their nests and eggs destroyed and other wildlife will perish in the flames and smoke.

There is also the human cost, too. The fire crews and volunteers who work to protect and nurture the moor worked through extremely difficult conditions to try and contain the spread of the fire but they faced a dirty, thankless task in trying to halt a wall of flame which spread across more than a mile of the moors.

The message has to be: Appreciate the countryside but do all you can to protect it.