Six of fire engines from London fire Brigade in convoy taking 36 firefighters to assist Lancashire Fire and Rescue and Manchester Fire service with the moorland fire at WinterHill
Fire crews are returning for an other day as a ‘rapidly developing, aggressive fire’ ravages moorland across Lancashire. Two moorland fires merged on Saturday and a major incident was declared.
Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service said 10 crews remained on the scene overnight, but the number was increased to 22 from 4.30am this morning. Fire break trenches are also being dug to try to protect local buildings.
Nobody has been reported injured in either blaze but wildlife experts have anticipated ‘a decade of damage’ and the deaths of hundreds of animals. The Army has been drafted in to contain flames on Saddleworth Moor which are believed to have been caused by discarded cigarette ends. Dramatic images show the devastating extent of the damage, as thick black smoke still billows across the skyline.
Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service supported by Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service and resources from around the country continues to fight what began as two separate fires on either side of Winter Hill. Increased wind speed over the weekend caused the two fires merge.
Chris Kenny, Chief Fire Officer at Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service, said: “We are working with colleagues in the emergency services, local authorities, public health and other partners to respond to this major incident jointly.”
“There are 28 fire engines plus specialist appliances currently at the site along with specialist wildfire fighting teams, helicopters, drones and mountain rescue units. These resources are continuing to protect the public and the vital infrastructure on top of Winter Hill.”
“The fire is contained however the nature of moorland fires combined with the weather we are experiencing means that while we extinguish flames on the surface, peat underground continues to burn. We’re using water on land and from the air to douse areas that continue to smoulder below the ground.”
“We are urging members of the public to stay away from the Winter Hill area for their own safety and the safety of responders. People travelling to the scene, blocking access roads for emergency vehicles and flying drones hamper our response and compromise safety.”
“Unfortunately we are also attending a number of wildfires in other areas of the county. My plea to residents and visitors when outdoors is that they take great care to prevent fires, particularly as this heat wave continues.”