THE North York Moors National Park Authority has issued a fire warning as rain remains unlikely over the Easter bank holiday weekend.

The park authority said warning signs had been erected at higher moorland sites on the North York Moors, following a major woodland fire near Guisborough on Saturday, April 13.

Senior ranger at the North Yorks Moors National Park Bernie McLinden said: "It may not feel as though we’ve been basking in hot sunshine in recent weeks.

"But a lack of rain has led to very dry ground vegetation that could easily be ignited.

"If anything, the situation is more dangerous, as people might not be aware just how great the threat is, even in April."

In dry conditions, dry vegetation can become extremely hot and can combust after several hours of sun.

Last weekend, a part of Guisborough Woods, near Charltons Village, became ignited and devastated a large area of woodland.

The Northern Echo:

Burnt out trees remained at the site near Charltons Village

The woodland fire reportedly destroyed a significant patch of Guisborough's largest pine forest plantation within a matter of hours.

The fire had been reported at 2.30pm but an official stop message was timed by Cleveland Fire and Rescue just after 9pm.

The fire service said the fire's remote location had hampered efforts to control the fire.

Mr McLinden said: "Fire can spread extremely quickly, as was seen in Guisborough Forest just last week, and this can cause significant damage to the landscape and its wildlife."

Days after the major fire at Guisborough Woods, a spokesperson for Cleveland Fire and Rescue Service said: "Due to the nature of the ground there is continued smouldering and crews have revisited several times to monitor the situation and are at the scene today."

The fire service said a cause of the fire had not been determined and officers were still investigating.

At the time of the incident, a fire officer told The Northern Echo that they were monitoring the burnt woodland in case underground vegetation reignited.

The North York Moors National Park Authority especially warned visitors against lighting fires, BBQ's, cigarettes and matches.

Mr McLinden of the park added: "The majority of moorland fires can be prevented so we would urge people to take extra care when visiting the National Park while the fire risk signs are in place.”