As firefighters end a fifth day of battling moorland blazes, chiefs say they are likely to be on scene for the foreseeable future.
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 29 fire engines 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.
“The support from the public has been absolutely overwhelming. We’ve received enough donations to supply our crews for the foreseeable future and I’d like to thank everyone who visited our training centre in Chorley to drop off supplies.
“I’d also like to thank all those involved in this incident from Lancashire and beyond for their tireless work to protect the local community in extremely challenging conditions.”
Residents in areas affected by smoke are advised to stay indoors, keep doors and windows closed and tune in to the local radio station and follow social media for advice and information.
Motorists who have to travel through the smoke should keep windows closed and switch air conditioning systems to recycle or recirculate to prevent drawing in outside air. If people need to be outdoors, they are advised to avoid areas affected by any smoke or ash, or to limit the time that they spend in them.