Blaze on the first sunny day

WARNINGS have been issued after more than 30 firefighters tackled a blaze on the moors above Chorley which stretched more than one kilometre.

Worryingly, the fire broke out on the very first day of dry sunny weather for weeks.

Five fire engines rushed to the moors close to White Coppice on Wednesday afternoon.

A caller alerted Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service to the incident just after 1.30pm after noticing “large amounts of smoke on the moors”.

United Utilities, which owns land close by around Rivington, had earlier notified the fire service of an “amber” warning for the potential for moorland fires as a result of the fine weather.

A fire service spokesman said: “There were two fires, one over 100 metres, the other over one kilometre.”

He said the incident was close to the Great Hill area, a popular climb for walkers, especially in fine weather.

He said: “Funnily enough we were told of a warning from United Utilities.

“They have a warning system for the potential for moorland fires. It went up to amber Wednesday.

“As soon as it went to amber, we had a moorland fire.”

Firefighters used beaters to put out the two stretches of fire and fought it for just under six hours. The cause of the blaze is unknown.

In May 2011, United Utilities urged visitors to woodland areas not to be “blazing trails” during warm and windy weather.

The message came after its countryside rangers worked around the clock to assist the fire service over a few days to tackle moorland and woodland fires which broke out in the Belmont area of Rivington.

Around 1,970 acres of moorland at Anglezarke were affected and 30 acres of woodland, destroying 70,000 trees.

Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service says the are many things members of the public can do to reduce the number of wildfires that it attends each year.

They they include avoiding starting open fires in the countryside; taking extra care with the disposal of lighted cigarettes, particularly from moving vehicles or in moorland or countryside areas, and not leaving bottles or glass in woodlands.