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Football fans warned not to make firefighters’ jobs any harder amid moor blazes

World Cup watchers have been warned not to leave barbecues unattended or cook while drinking.

England football fans have been urged not to make the job of fire crews fighting moorland blazes “any harder” by leaving barbecues unattended or cooking while drinking alcohol.

Fire chiefs in Greater Manchester made the plea to the public ahead of the World Cup knockout clash with Colombia on Tuesday evening which will be watched by millions of TV viewers.

Crews are continuing to battle fires in Tameside, east of Manchester, for a second week, while assisting colleagues in Lancashire at a similar blaze in Winter Hill near Bolton and dealing with routine calls in the region.

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Firefighters have issued safety warnings as England prepares to watch a World Cup match (Danny Lawson/PA)

Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service (GMFRS) area manager Jim Hutton said: “Whilst you are enjoying the World Cup this evening, please think of our crews who are continuing to tackle two major moorland fires. With this in mind, please don’t make their job any harder by leaving barbecues unattended or cooking whilst drinking alcohol.

“I would also urge people to take care around water. It may be tempting to cool off in a reservoir or lake but the even the strongest of swimmers can get into difficulties and there can be unknown hazards underwater.”

Some 45 firefighters remain at the scene in Tameside above Stalybridge with support from crews from the West Midlands, South Yorkshire, Gloucestershire and West Yorkshire, plus the ongoing assistance of troops from the Royal Regiment of Scotland (4 SCOTS).

Crews are using specialist vehicles including four high volume pumps and a helicopter to dampen down the blaze from height and fight the fire.

While 35 GMFRS firefighters are supporting 140 colleagues from Lancashire in their battle to maintain control of the blaze at Winter Hill which broke out when two moorland fires either side of the hill merged on Saturday because of increased wind speed.

Lancashire area manager Steve Morgan said the fire site remained “incredibly challenging” and conditions were “arduous” for firefighters.

In Derbyshire, fire chiefs said talks were ongoing to dissuade organisers of a sky lantern festival from going ahead with the event in Buxton, which is surrounded by the Peak District National Park, later this month.

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The fire continues to burn (Danny Lawson/PA)

In a statement, the county’s fire and rescue service said: “Derbyshire Fire & Rescue Service (DRFS) can confirm that it’s fully aware of the Lights Festival event planned for July 28 in Buxton, Derbyshire, and that there is a lot of work going on in the background including dialogue with the event organisers via a group called the Safety Advisory Group.

“DFRS is part of this group and a number of concerns have been raised about the event going ahead. Every effort is being made to dissuade the event organisers from going ahead with the event.”

The event website said the lantern launch would take place in Dale Head Road at nightfall, but added it was “100% dependent on the wind and the fire marshal’s approval”.

Ruth George, Labour MP for High Peak, has written to the organisers to ask them to call off the event.

More than 200 people have signed an online petition which also calls for the festival to be scrapped and that to allow it would be “dangerous
and irresponsible, as the risk of starting further fires is extremely high”.

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