28-year-old artist is in jail for one year after accidentally setting off three fireworks before his girlfriend.

  • Viktor Riedly started a firework right in front his girlfriend the night of April 25, 2012.
  • It lit up and quickly spread to Marsden Moor, Yorkshire.
  • Over 100 firefighters responded to the emergency, and it was declared a major accident.
  • It was estimated to have cost £500,000 in damage and emergency resources
  • Reidly, 28 years old, pleaded guilty yesterday to arson. She was sent to jail for one year 

A man was sentenced to three days in jail for accidentally starting a moorland fire that took out more than 100 firefighters.

Viktor Riedly 28 headed to Marsden Moor (in Yorkshire) on the evening April 25, 2021. There he set the explosive, which ignited the huge blaze.

Leeds Crown Court heard that he attempted to put out the flames, but it quickly spread and covered 285 ha of moorland.

It was later declared a major emergency, more than 100 firefighters were sent from West Yorkshire to control it, until finally it was put out of business on April 28.

The fire caused widespread damage to Marsden Moor, which is a site of special scientific interest, and was estimated to have cost £500,000 in damage and emergency service resources.

Riedly pleaded guilty today to arson. He was sentenced to a year in prison.

Three days later, Marsden Moor was engulfed in flames after Viktor Riedly set a firework for his girlfriend April 2021.

More than 100 firefighters were called in to tackle the flames which covered 285 hectares of moorland

The flames swept over 285 hectares (or more) of moorland and were tackled by 100 firefighters.

Scott Donegan from West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service said, “We welcome today’s sentence and we hope that others will not start fires in our area.”

“This fire did extensive damage to the environment of the Moor and required an immediate response by 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.’

Riedly had intended to film the firework being set off, with his girlfriend carrying the recording equipment up the moorland, but it caused a major fire. Pictured: a helicopter drops water onto the burning moorland

Riedly wanted to record the fireworks being lit, and his girlfriend was carrying the equipment. But it set off a massive fire. Pictured: The helicopter dropped water on to the moorland.

Riedly informed Leeds Crown Court that he’d tried unsuccessfully, using a glass of water and his clothes to put out the fire.

Leeds Crown Court heard Riedly, his girlfriend and equipment carried up the moorland by Leeds Crown Court.

After realizing something was wrong, he attempted unsuccessfully to extinguish the flames with water from a bottle and his clothes. 

Fire quickly spread, and it was immediately declared a major accident. Local authorities, firefighters and community groups were on the scene.

In the following days, Marsden Moor suffered extensive damage. It was estimated to have cost £500,000 in damage and emergency service resources

This fire decimated precious habitats in peatland and caused damage to wildlife, including ground nesting birds.

According to the fire department, 65,000 sphagnum moss plugs were planted on Marsden Moor in autumn and winter by the fire service.  

Volunteers, which include local children and firefighters from Meltham Fire Station and Slaithwaite Fire Station, did most of the planting.