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Scale of devastation at Winter Hill shown as fire continues

Posted on - 9th July, 2018 - 8:49pm | Author - | Posted in - Preston News
An aerial shot showing part of the area at Winter Hill burnt by the fire Pic: Lee Cook/Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service
An aerial shot showing part of the area at Winter Hill burnt by the fire Pic: Lee Cook/Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service

Winter Hill’s moorland fire is under control – as the scale of the damage caused takes hold.

Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service say they are making ‘good progress’ with around 14 fire engines from their stations and Manchester Fire Service committed during daylight hours.

They are still being supported by specialist wildfire fighting teams, helicopters and mountain rescue units.

Fire crews from across the UK have been drafted in at various stages while crews from Lancashire are rested.

Read more: Exclusion zone set up around Winter Hill

Chief fire officer Chris Kenny 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 operation on Winter Hill. Pic: Benjamin Wareing

Read more: What it’s like on the front line of the Winter Hill fire

Roads around Winter Hill remain closed to the public although the fire service said the San Marino restaurant in Belmont Road is now back open for business and can be accessed via Longworth Road and Egerton Road.

The fire began on Thursday 28 June and a police investigation is still ongoing into the cause of the fire.

A 20-year-old man from Wigan was arrested on Friday (6 July) on suspicion of arson with intent to endanger life. He has been released under investigation.

A 22-year-old man from Bolton was arrested on Wednesday (3 July) on the same charge.

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