Winter Hill wildfire – FAQs

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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Incident date and time: 28/06/2018 15:21:00

Address: Winter Hill, Horwich

Incident Number: 1806013148

Supplies and donations

  • Can I donate supplies for firefighters?
    We have been inundated with enquiries and comments prom people wishing to donate supplies for our firefighters in relation to the Winter Hill wildfire. As a result, we designated our training centre in Chorley as a drop-off point. The amount of donations supplied was overwhelming and we now have sufficient supplies for our crews for the foreseeable future.
  • Can I make a financial donation?
    We can’t accept your money, but if you do wish to make a donation, a contribution to The Fire Fighters Charity would be gratefully received. You can find out more about the charity here: www.firefighterscharity.org.uk

Public assistance

  • Can I volunteer to help fight the fires on the moors?
    We are really grateful to the members of the public who have offered to volunteer their time to help deal with the moorland incidents and share their ideas but we have the resources we need at this time the best thing you can do to help us is staying away and avoiding the area. Our firefighting efforts will be obstructed by members of the public who may come into difficulty on the moor.
  • Are we able to come and watch the firefighters working and look at the fire engines?
    Absolutely not. We are urging members of the public to stay away from the Winter Hill area for their safety and the safety of responders. Road closures are in place for the public’s safety and to help our crews do their job. Please help us, by strictly observing road closures, whether you’re a driver, cyclist or on foot. People travelling to the scene, blocking access roads for emergency vehicles and flying drones hamper our response and compromise safety.
  • Have you thought about: a) digging trenches around the fire b) using specialist aircraft c) using another method of firefighting that you have heard about?
    We have considered all options and at this time we have what we need and we are doing all we can to extinguish the fire.

Public health

  • What should I do if I’m near the smoke?
    Smoke can be an irritant, particularly for those with respiratory or heart problems. There are a number of things to consider if you live locally to any of the ongoing incidents. 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 social media for advice and information. When the smoke has moved away and is no longer visible, think about opening doors and windows to allow the house to cool down. If the direction of the wind changes and smoke returns to the area, remember to return inside and shut windows and doors again until the smoke has visibly cleared. 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.
  • Is it safe to drive through the smoke?
    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.
  • Is there any more public health advice in relation to the incident?
    Yes – follow @PHE_NorthWest on Twitter for advice. If you are concerned about any symptoms, contact your GP or NHS 111. We appreciate the hot weather is having a combined effect and also recommend that people in affected areas:

    • draw curtains to limit direct sunlight heating-up internal surfaces in the home
    • wear lighter clothing
    • keep hydrated with cool drinks
    • cool your skin with water, for example by using cool showers
    • 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 avoid strenuous physical activity 

School closures

  • Are there any school closures?
    Rivington Foundation Primary School, which is the closest school to the incident, is currently closed.
  • Is it safe for my child to go to school near this incident?
    The advice from Lancashire County Council is YES. Schools take the health and safety of staff and pupils extremely seriously and will continually assess any impacts from the fire on their school setting. Should conditions at the school become detrimental then the school would close immediately and/or make arrangements to use alternative premises.
  • Why would my child’s school have to close?
    The decision to close a school rests with the head teacher and this would be based on the conditions within their school. Each school setting is unique and any decision to close would be taken based on the conditions within each individual school, the surrounding area and also taking into account any staff and pupils that may have pre-existing conditions such as asthma.
  • Is it safe for my child to play outside at school close to the fire?
    Schools are aware of the potential health impacts from the smoke/ash and are aware when it is safe to go outside or when to stay indoors. Due to changing weather conditions the smoke can affect schools at different times of the day and can come and go throughout the day. Head teachers will continually check the safety of their outside areas and will only allow children to go outside if it is safe to do so.

Road closures

  • Are there any road closures?
    A number of roads near to Winter Hill have been closed as a result of the incident:
    Scout Road, Belmont Road, Smithills Dean Road at the junction with Scout Road, Longshore Ford Road, Walker Fold Road at its junction with Chorley Old Road, Georges Lane at the junction with Matchmoor Lane, Marklands Road at the junction with Georges Lane, Old Rake at the junction with Georges Lane and Belmont Road at its junction with Rivington Terraced Gardens.

Preventing wildfires

  • How can I prevent these fires occurring?

    • Don’t discard cigarettes or matches whilst walking or driving through the countryside
    • Don’t have BBQs in unauthorised areas and make sure it is cold before it is disposed of correctly
    • Never leave a BBQ unattended
    • Don’t start campfires in the countryside
    • Don’t discard rubbish – litter such as reflective cans and glass can start fires
    • If you live close to woodland or heathland do not burn off garden rubbish during hot weather
    • Report any evidence of illegal firesetting activity
  • What should I do if I discover a fire?

    • If you need to move to a safe place and call the Fire Service on 999 immediately, provide as much detail as you can – size of fire, location and terrain
    • Don’t tackle the fire
    • If you haven’t already, self evacuate the area as soon as possible – these fires can spread fast

There’s more advice here.