All those who were involved in the Winter Hill moorland fire response have reunited for the first time since the incident ended at a special event.
Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service hosted a reception at its training centre in Chorley on Tuesday 25 September to bring everyone back together and formally thank them for helping to bring the incident to a successful conclusion.
17 organisations from across Lancashire and Manchester attended including emergency services, search and rescue agencies, charities and local authorities.
Chris Kenny, Chief Fire Officer at Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service, said: “The nature, scale and protracted length of the Winter Hill fire meant that it would not have been possible to bring it to successful conclusion without the support of our partners. The combined skills, knowledge and expertise of all those involved protected people, property and the vital TV transmitter at the top of the hill from harm.
“It was fitting to bring everyone involved back together to properly thank them and recognise their immense collective contribution, particularly as so many of those involved are volunteers. Despite the devastation the fire caused, the way in which everyone pulled together is something of which we can be rightfully proud.”
Also in attendance were a number of local businesses who employ people who also work as retained firefighters. Chris Kenny added: “With half of our fire stations crewed by retained firefighters, the support of employers in allowing their staff to be absent from work to attend the incident for long periods of time was invaluable. We have one of the best retained services in the country and that is in no small part due to the contribution of local businesses.”
Bolton Mountain Rescue played a vital role at the incident providing local area knowledge and specialist vehicles to help firefighters access the 18 square kilometres site.
Gill Leigh, Chair of Bolton Mountain Rescue, said: “Winter Hill is one of the largest incidents we have ever worked on in terms of the sustained response required, and I’d like to thank the families and employers of our volunteers for supporting them throughout. The sense of community spirit and team work during the incident spurred everyone on and it was great to meet up again to celebrate that.”
The Winter Hill moorland fire began on 28 June and ended six weeks later on 8 August. At the height of the incident there were over 30 fire engines and 150 firefighters supported by multiple partners, specialist wildfire fighting teams and fire and rescue services from other areas of the country.
View our photo album of the event and watch our film to find out more and hear from some of the partners: