Winter Hill Wildfire Progress 09/07/18

Helicopter dropping water onto moorland on Winter Hill. Two fire officers can be seen just ahead of where the helicopter is. Download Image


Firefighters have made good progress in bringing a large wildfire on Winter Hill near Bolton under control.

The number of fire engines at the site from Lancashire and Manchester is now around 14 during peak hours supported by specialist wildfire fighting teams, helicopters and mountain rescue units. Crews from other parts of the country that have been assisting as part of our national resilience arrangements have returned home.

Chris Kenny, Chief Fire Officer at Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service, said: “We’ve made excellent progress in reducing the Winter Hill wildfire and the vital infrastructure and properties in the area have been successfully protected.

“We’re operating in an area around 18 square km in size but have been able to contain the fire to approximately 8 square km. We have good control lines in place in the form of trenches that have been dug around the site and back burning has been done in places to stop the fire spreading and protect areas of high risk.

“A change in wind direction could alter our plans but at present we are able to reduce the response, while still monitoring for flare-ups and maintaining control lines. We continue to douse the moors with water by land and air.

“Although the fire is currently under control, the incident remains protracted and demanding, and we expect to be present for several days yet.

“Working closely with our partners and voluntary agencies, the fire has been brought under control despite very challenging conditions. The response by everyone involved has been tremendous, and we have been greatly supported by the local community.

“I’d particularly like to thank local businesses who have supported employees who also work for Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service as retained firefighters, in allowing them to provide a sustained response, and those near to the scene that are experiencing disruption. I’m grateful for their patience and co-operation.

“Please continue to stay away from the area, to allow us to maintain the good progress we’ve made and return Winter Hill to normality as soon as possible.”

The San Marino Mediterranean Restaurant on Belmont Road is open for business and can be accessed from Longworth Road and Egerton Road. We’d like to thank the owners for their patience, support and assistance this past week.

However, please adhere to road closures which are in place for the public’s safety and to help our crews do their job. People travelling to the scene by vehicle, bike or on foot, blocking access roads for emergency vehicles and flying drones hamper our response and compromise safety.

You can stay up-to-date with the incident online and via Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Flickr and Instagram.

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 taking care when outdoors to prevent any further wildfires:

How to prevent

  • 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 to do if you 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.