Winter Hill Fire: 80 firefighters continue to battle devastating moorland blaze in Rivington
Around 80 firefighters are continuing to battle the devastating wild moorland fire at Winter Hill this morning, say Fire Services.
Firefighters say they expect to be at the scene for several days after the fire spread into underlying peat which has created several hot spots across the 4sq km area.
The fire broke out at around 3pm on Thursday, and is the second fire this week to have affected the Rivington area.
Six relief crews from Lancashire together with three crews from other Cumbria kept a watching brief overnight.
At first light at 4.30am, 12 fire engines from Lancashire and Cumbria headed out to the area to renew their firefighting efforts.
Fire teams say they are now using beaters to battle the fire as they are currently unable to get water to the scene, but service bosses hope to be able to get water on the fire later today.
Crew Manager Neil Parkinson from Preston, who spent the night at the scene praised the multi-brigade team work.
He said: "The crews have really pulled together to fight this fire. There's been a great team effort from all the brigades involved.
"It's a physically demanding job, and we're all looking after each other and drinking plenty of water."
Firefighters at Blackpool said that the fire had completely devastated the affected area.
A spokesman said: "We spent the night up there on a watching brief. We can't actively fight overnight as it's too dangerous and visibility is poor.
"It's just destroyed the landscape - it's all black where the grass has been burnt away."
Firefighters are asking for members of the public to maintain a safe distance from the fire and to close windows if smoke can be smelt in your home or workplace.
Public health officials are also warning residents around the area to take care and to avoid unnecessary exposure to smoke.
A Public Health England spokesman said in a tweet: "Smoke is an irritant and can make eyes and throats sore - wash your face with soap and water and keep hydrated by drinking water. If you have any health concerns contact the NHS 111 service."
A fire service spokesman added: "For anyone in Lancashire or Manchester affected by the smoke coming from the moorland fires on Winter Hill, this advice is still relevant.
"We know it is still very warm but if you can smell the smoke in your house, please keep your windows and doors shut."
Fire services say that there are several large areas of moorland in Lancashire at risk and have urged members of the public to take care when discarding cigarettes and to not light barbecues on the moors.