NATIONAL Trust officials were today counting the cost of the second fierce blaze to sweep across moorland near Marsden.

They believe many hundreds of nesting birds and other wildlife will have died in the blaze, which was still smouldering yesterday.

It was the second large moor fire in less than two weeks.

Now they are urging people who enjoy walking on the moors to take extra care.

The National Trust’s Marsden Moor Estate countryside manager Gemma Wren said: “It was a lovely weekend and a lot of people chose to take a walk on the moor on Saturday and Sunday.

“Fires like this rarely start by accident and people do need to take care. A cigarette thrown away can cause so many problems.”

The blaze was spotted at about 1pm on Sunday on Binn Moor, close to the top of Binn Lane.

It spread rapidly through the dry grass and peat, fanned by a breeze.

Ms Wren said: “We have not had much rain over the last few days and that, coupled with the wind that is always up on the moor, means there is little or no moisture in the ground.

“It spread across at least 1km of the moor, but until we have been up to take a proper look, we will not know the full extent of the damage.

“What we do know is that this is the time of year that the ground-nesting birds build their nests and lay their eggs and they will have been destroyed. They will be golden plover, grouse and curlew and it is a blow.

“What was good was the community spirit that was shown.

“The fire crews did a great job over the whole day, but so too did all the volunteers, from the Meltham Shoot, from the Peak Park and from the Trust. Many of them worked for eight hours helping to beat out the flames and we want to thank them all.”

Fire crews from Huddersfield, Holmfirth, Meltham, Slaithwaite and Marsden spent much of Sunday afternoon and evening on the moors fighting the flames.