English emergency services battle ‘aggressive’ moorland fires

Two large blazes near Bolton merged on Saturday due to increasing wind speed

Firefighters tackle a wildfire on Winter Hill near Bolton. Photograph: Danny Lawson/PA Wire.

Firefighters tackle a wildfire on Winter Hill near Bolton. Photograph: Danny Lawson/PA Wire.

 

English fire crews are attempting for a seventh day to gain control over a “rapidly developing, aggressive fire” which has been ravaging moorland across Lancashire.

Two large-scale moorland fires merged on Saturday due to increasing wind speed and a major incident was declared as crews tackled the blaze.

Greater Manchester Police said fires on Winter Hill and Scout Road near Bolton have merged, with pedestrians and motorists urged to stay away from the area.

Firefighters tackle a wildfire on Winter Hill near Bolton. Photograph: Danny Lawson/PA Wire.
Firefighters tackle a wildfire on Winter Hill near Bolton. Photograph: Danny Lawson/PA Wire.

Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service said 10 crews remained on the scene overnight, but the number was increased to 22 from 4.30am on Sunday.

Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service said on Saturday it had 28 fire engines tackling the moorland fires.

There were approximately 120 personnel on the moors, split between seven areas of wildfire in Tameside and Winter Hill.

The first moorland fire — on Saddleworth Moor — started on Sunday amid Britain’s heatwave and has devastated surrounding land around Carrbrook.

“This is an exceptionally challenging time and I am proud of the hard work and brave commitment of our firefighters,” assistant chief fire officer Dave Keelan said.

A British Ministry of Defence (MOD) handout photograph shows British Army soldiers of 4 Scots help dig ditches and ‘breaks’ to maintain the fires as they continue to support Great Manchester Fire and Rescue Service with the Saddleworth Moor fire, north west England, Britain, 29 June 2018. Photograph: Sgt Donald Todd via EPA.
A British Ministry of Defence (MOD) handout photograph shows British Army soldiers of 4 Scots help dig ditches and ‘breaks’ to maintain the fires as they continue to support Great Manchester Fire and Rescue Service with the Saddleworth Moor fire, north west England, Britain, 29 June 2018. Photograph: Sgt Donald Todd via EPA.

Lancashire fire service area manager Tony Cook said “very intensive firefighting” is taking place on Winter Hill, including personnel doing shuttle runs in appliances to get water to the scene while others manually try to beat the fire out.

Fire break trenches are also being dug to try to protect local buildings. - PA