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Firefighters tackling moors blaze warn public over reckless behaviour

Lancashire Fire and Rescue highlighted a discarded barbecue left on Winter Hill.

Firefighters battling smoke, heat and flames on the moors are also up against another relentless foe – members of the general public behaving irresponsibly.

Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service on Wednesday tweeted about the latest in a series of crass actions by people as they try to put out the flames.

Their tweet read: “We were dismayed to find a discarded disposable barbecue on #WinterHill.

“This reckless act could have easily started another large fire close to the existing fires on Winter Hill.”

The throwaway barbecue tray, burnt out, was found by a firefighter just yards from scorched moorland.

As fires raged on Winter Hill and nearby Rivington Pike, a helicopter from the National Police Air Service (NPAS) spotted another intense blaze on the hills in the early hours of last Saturday morning.

On closer inspection they found a group of people had lit a camp fire.

NPAS Barton tweeted that police were en route to “offer words of advice”, to the group sat around the campfire, along with a plea for people to act responsibly.

With dozens of fire engines and other specialist equipment mobilised, along with more than 100 firefighters at both Saddleworth Moor and Winter Hill, pleas have been made for the public to stay away and let firefighters get on with the job.

But they have had to contend with sightseers abandoning cars along narrow one-vehicle country lanes to take pictures and film drone footage.

One set of visitors were seen to get out of their car and start smoking cigarettes – yards from tinder-dry grass and bracken.

In yet another incident a Mountain Rescue team had to take a walker to safety who had decided to walk on the smoke-logged hills – and suffered an apparent asthma attack.

Fire chiefs have pleaded with the public to keep off the moors and observe road closures – for their own safety and that of fire crews.

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