Moorland fire at Winter Hill

Date: 28/06/2018

Time: 15:21:00

Address: Winter Hill, Horwich

Incident Number: 1806013148

UPDATE 23/07/18

The emergency response is progressing steadily to conclusion, as remaining and isolated residual ‘hot spots’ of burning peat being extinguished. Rain has been sporadic and of insufficient volume to do the job, and it often entails digging down to the burning peat to ensure water reaches it without cascading off or being dispersed.

Three Hagglund articulated tracked all-terrain vehicles have been used in addition to 4 X 4 off-road vehicles to convey firefighters, water and equipment to hot-spots identified by a combination of visual signs (smoke) and the heat-mapping provided by LFRS drones using infra-red camera detection.

A major task has been the recovery of hundreds of lengths of water hoses from the 18 sq km site. They have been collected and taken to our Training Centre to be tested, washed and stored on pallets for issue or repair.  They include hoses left by other Fire and Rescue Services involved in the incident response, and these will be returned to them in due course.

Other equipment, such as High Volume Pumps, require overhaul and testing before re-issue, a significant job of work already underway. A massive task, but a vital one.

As a footnote, a Team Leader from Bolton Mountain Rescue got in touch with us to say,

“I think one of the huge successes of this incident was the communication with the public and the way the public co-operated by staying away from the scene for their safety and to avoid hindering the incident response.”

“This was almost certainly because of good and consistent print, radio TV and social media messages coming from all organisations, particularly LFRS.”

“Winter Hill and Rivington Pike are normally teeming with visitors at the weekends but when I did a lap of Winter Hill on 7th July I didn’t see a single member of the public up there.”

We sincerely hope that very soon Winter Hill and Rivington Pike will again be ‘teeming with visitors’.

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UPDATE 20/07/18

There are two fire engines from Lancahsire, one specialist unit and one fire engines from Manchester at the scene. The air support unit has been at the scene to carry out thermal mapping.

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UPDATE 19/07/18

There are three fire engines from Lancashire and one from Manchester at the scene. The air support unit has been at the scene to carry out thermal mapping.

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UPDATE 18/07/18

There are three fire engines from Lancashire and one from Manchester at the scene. The air support unit has been at the scene to carry out thermal mapping.

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UPDATE 17/07/18

A large amount of rain fell last night which was of course welcome but has not extinguished the fire – a number of hotspots still exist in the top sector where crews are working. Roads around the incident have now reopened however footpaths remain closed and we do still need people to avoid the moorland

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UPDATE 16/07/18

The number of fire engines at the incident is currently six during peak hours: five from Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service and one from Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service. As of today (Monday 16 July), it is no longer being treated as a major incident.

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UPDATE 15/07/18

There are nine fire engines at Winter Hill again today as we continue to tackle hot spots that remain.

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UPDATE 14/07/18

There are nine fire engines at Winter Hill today continuing to tackle hot spots and dampen down.

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UPDATE 13/07/18

Following rain at Winter Hill last night, which went some way to help extinguish smouldering spots, we continue firefighting operations today with nine fire engines at the incident.

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UPDATE 12/07/18

We’ve had nine fire engines at Winter Hill today and will go down to six overnight.

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UPDATE /11/07/18 10:00

We have 12 fire engines at Winter Hill again today as we continue to stop the fire spreading and protect areas of high risk.

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UPDATE 10/07/18 09:00

We have twelve fire engines up at Winter Hill today following a cool night.

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UPDATE 09/07/18 09:30

This morning there are fourteen fire engines at the incident which consists of ten from Lancashire and four from Manchester. London Fire Brigade have returned to their Service.

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UPDATE 08/07/18 20:30

Tonight there will be five crews from Lancashire and five from Manchester remaining at the scene overnight

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UPDATE 08/07/18 17:00

We currently have fifteen fire engines at the scene. There has been a change in wind direction today which has meant that firefighters have been covering the fire breaks adn monitoring the existing smouldering hot spots. This is expected to be scaled back in the next few hours.

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UPDATE 08/07/18 08:00

The number of fire engines at the scene was increased to fourteen at 04:00hrs. This included nine crews from Lancashire, five crews from Greater Manchester and at 08:30hrs we will be welcoming colleagues from North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue who will be attending with one fire engine. Firefighters are deployed at various locations across the incident ground as they continue to monitor the fire and deal with any smouldering hot spots as they flare up.

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UPDATE 07/07/18 22:00

We have reduced this incident to five Lancashire fire engines and five Manchester fire engines until 04:00 on 08/08/18. London Fire will not be at the scene overnight

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UPDATE 07/07/18 17:00

We currently have 18 fire engines at the Winter Hill fire which consists of seven fire engines from Lancashire, five from Manchester and six fire engines from London

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UPDATE 07/07/18 07:30

We have 15 fire engines at Winter Hill this morning. This number will be increased later on today when we will be joined by London Fire Brigade.

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UPDATE 06/07/18 19:46

We will be reducing the number of fire engines at Winter Hill to 10 later this evening, until full firefighting operations resume at around 4am.

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UPDATE 06/07/18 08:00

Firefighters are continuing to extinguish the fire on Winter Hill. We have 20 fire engines on the scene including firefighters from Manchester, Tyne and Wear, Cleveland, Nottingham as well as wilfire teams from Cheshire and North Yorkshire

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UPDATE 05/07/18 22:49

We’re down to 15 pumps at Winter Hill now until full firefighting operations resume around 4am.

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UPDATE 05/07/18: As of 7:00 this morning, firefighters are continuing to extinguish the fire on #WinterHill We have 20 fire engines from scene including firefighters from across the country.

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UPDATE 04/07/18 23:00

There are now four fire engines at Winter Hill until firefighting operations resume at around 4am.

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UPDATE 04/07/18 11:00

We now have 22 fire engines up at the Winter Hill site. Crews began arriving again around 04:30hrs this morning. They’re still hard at it and will be dealing with the smouldering hot spot areas and any flare ups of fire when they pop up.

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UPDATE 03/07/18 22:30

There are currently 12 fire engines at the Winter Hill wildfire until full firefighting operations resume at around 4am

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UPDATE 03/07/18 07:00

We now have 30 fire engines at the Winter Hill wildfire and it is likely to increase throughout the course of the day. This includes fire engines from Greater Manchester, Tyne and Wear, Nottinghamshire and Shropshire.

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UPDATE 03/07/18 00:45

We now have 15 fire engines at the Winter Hill wildfire until full firefighting operations resume at around 4am.

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UPDATE 02/07/18 16:30

We now have 31 fire engines and specialist appliances at the scene which are focused on continuing the work firefighters have been doing this morning. These fire engines come from Lancashire, Manchester, Northamptonshire, North Yorkshire, Humberside and Shropshire.

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UPDATE 02/07/18 00:08

There are 17 fire engines currently at the incident until full firefighting operations resume at first light.

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UPDATE 01/07/18 14:00

We now have 29 fire engines which are focused on continuing the work firefighters have been doing this morning.

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UPDATE 01/07/18 11:25

We are continuing to tackle fires across various locations at the Winter Hill side and Scout Road side of the incident. We increased firefighting efforts at 04:30hrs this morning in order to mount a large scale attack on the fire fronts.

Currently there are 25 fire appliances deployed across the incident ground. Firefighting activity on the Winter Hill side is now focusing on getting water onto smouldering, hot spot area. Offensive firefighting is focusing on getting water onto nearby woodland to ensure any flame flare ups don’t spread to that area and we have been working with partners to secure the road and infrastructure up on the top of the hill at the mast sites.

Significant firefighting activity is predominently focused on the Scout Road side of the incident ground. We are looking into getting helicopter support later in the day to assist with getting water onto the incident ground in this area.

We are experiencing another very hot and dry day and so we would like to take this opportunity to remind people of the need to stay clear of the fire ground so that fire operations can continue unimpeded. Also, if you are spending time out in our countryside today please take care to be fire safety aware.

UPDATE: As of 14:00, we now have 29 fire engines which are focused on continuing the work firefighters have been doing this morning. Follow our advice.

We know that there is still a significant smoke plume in the area downwind of the fire and would advise anyone who may be affected by the smoke plume to keep their windows and doors closed.

We appreciate that the hot weather is having a combined effect and we would advise those affected by the smoke plume and who need to close their windows to follow Public Health England’s recommendations for people in affected areas:

  • draw curtains to limit direct sunlight heating-up internal surfaces in the home
  • use fans to recirculate air within the house to help keep cool
  • wear lighter clothing
  • keep hydrated with cool drinks
  • limit activities that might contribute to emissions within the home such as cooking
  • set any air conditioning to recirculate mode
  • limit the time you spend outdoors and avoiding strenuous physical activity.
  • once the smoke has moved away, consider opening doors and windows to allow the house to cool down.

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UPDATE 30/06/18 21:53

Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service and Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service were previously fighting two separate fires on either side of Winter Hill. At midday today the fire in Manchester accelerated due to increased wind speed causing one single fire. The size of the area involved is approximately 8km sq. A major incident was declared and it is now being treated as one incident. We are dealing with a rapidly developing aggressive fire across all vegetation types including woodlands.

The emergency services are working together with colleagues in local authorities, public health and the Environment Agency to respond to the incident jointly. There are now 30 pumps from Lancashire and Manchester at the incident along with specialist wildfire fighting teams, a drone and mountain rescue units. A United Utilities helicopter is also in operation. These resources are attempting to protect the infrastructure on top of Winter Hill.

Members of the public should stay away from the area affected. Residents in areas affected by smoke should stay indoors, keep doors and windows closed and tune in to the local radio station and 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.

Many thanks for all the kind messages we’ve had from the people of Lancashire and beyond offering donations for our hardworking crews. Our training centre is the designated drop off zone for anyone wishing to donate and is open Saturday and Sunday, 8am until 4pm: Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service Training Centre, West Way, Euxton, Chorley, PR7 6DH.

As firefighters respond to the moorland fire on Winter Hill, be reassured that more are there in readiness 24/7 to deal with other emergencies when required. Help them by ensuring that no other grass or moorland fires start. Don’t go near to dry grass with naked flames. Follow our advice.

Responders at the scene are supported by the Salvation Army and Rapid Relief Teams.

 


 

UPDATE 30/06/18 16:30

Since Thursday afternoon, firefighters have been fighting a moorland fire on Winter Hill, Rivington and since then firefighters have been working in extremely difficult conditions to try and extinguish the fire. At almost the same time, another moorland fire on the other side of Winter Hill broke out off Scout Road, Bolton which was attended by Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service firefighters. On Saturday morning, with both fires still burning and the wind picking up, the two fires merged together creating one bigger fire on Winter Hill around midday. As a result, Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service declared a major incident.There are currently 25 fire engines plus specialist appliances at the scene and it is vitally important that members of the public stay away from the moors and those people affected by the smoke keep their windows and doors shut. The conditions on the moors are dangerous.The support they have been given over the last few days has been overwhelming. Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service’s Training Centre has been open today and will be open between 8am and 4pm for members of the public to drop off water, isotonic drinks and packaged food. Whilst we don’t expect this, it is very much appreciated. Please do not come to the incident with food or drink.


 

20:00

15 fire engines from Lancashire and Manchester are currently in attendance at a grass fire on moorland at Winter Hill. The area affected is approximately 1km square in size. Firefighters are tackling the fire from three locations using specialist wildfire fighting equipment plus hose reels and beaters. Mountain rescue officers and United Utilities are assisting at the incident.

There is no immediate risk to livestock, domestic properties or infrastructure. However, please keep windows and doors closed if you are close to the smoke.

With hot weather expected for the next few days please take extra care when out in the countryside or on the moors and follow our advice.

 

UPDATE 21:25 Crews from Rawtenstall, Fulwood, Colne, Darwen, Hyndburn, Blackpool, Lytham, Bamber Bridge, Penwortham, Tarleton, Silverdale and Blackburn are in attendance at Winter Hill and will be for some time tackling the moorland fire.

 

UPDATE 00:58 We still have 15 fire engine in Winter Hill. Crews will be on the moors throughout the night trying to prevent the fire from spreading further. More information will be sent out later this morning.

 

UPDATE 01:30 Six relief crews including three from mutual aid with Cumbria remained at the scene overnight

 

UPDATE 04:30 At first light twelve crews as well as three crews from Cumbria and wildfire units returned to the moorland

 

UPDATE 08:30 incident increased to fifteen fire engines

 

UPDATE 10:53 road closures at Sheep House Lane and George Lane. No increase of threat to property or health

 

UPDATE 13:36 18 Lancashire appliances on scene and support from out of County from Cumbria FRS (1 fire engine) and Merseyside FRS (3 fire engines). Firefighting and fire suppression is continuing in three sectors that cover between 4 to 5 square kilometres. There are also a wide range of special appliances in attendance including the air support unit (Drone), soft track, wildfire units including, a Command unit and multiple 4×4 vehicles to support crews.

 

UPDATE 23:00 Overnight, there will be six fire engines left on the moors. Firefighting operations will be limited whilst it is dark. At 04:30, we will look to increase the number of fire engines at the scene to 12. Our incident commanders will then assess the situation and determine whether more or less firefighters are required at the scene.