ORE than two weeks since the initial wildfire broke out on Tameside moorlands, Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service (GMFRS) is urging the public to stay away as crews continue to deal with three challenging moorland fires across the city-region.
The warning comes as another wildfire broke out over the weekend in Denshaw, putting GMFRS under more intense pressure. On Saturday afternoon (July 7), the moorland fire in Denshaw peaked to 12 fire engines, and currently 20 firefighters from GMFRS, supported by two crews from West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service, are working to contain the fire.
GMFRS’ Assistant Chief Fire Officer, Tony Hunter, said: “The three significant moorland incidents in Greater Manchester are unprecedented and they have drawn upon a large amount of our resources over the last couple of weeks, supported by a number of other agencies. I am proud of our crews and control room operators who, very tired after an already long shift, responded and quickly brought the Denshaw fire under control.
“Our firefighting activities have resulted in a large amount of hose, machinery and vehicles in the area, including helicopter activity, each of which bring their own hazards.
“However, members of the public are continuing to come up to the areas and we are now urging local people and walkers to please stay off the moorland in Tameside, Saddleworth and Bolton as we deal with these incidents.
“By walking on the moorlands close to where these incidents are, you are not only putting yourselves in danger but risk disrupting the work of our firefighters who are working tirelessly to put the fires out and keep local people safe. We want people to enjoy the sunshine but please find an alternative walking route, and steer clear from all three fires.
“The support we have had from local communities has been overwhelming and we cannot thank you enough for your support, but please help us deal with these challenging incidents by staying away.”
These severe wildfire conditions are likely to continue for much of England and Wales through the week due to the ongoing warm and dry conditions.
A total of 22 fire engines from GMFRS, supported by a number of neighbouring fire and rescue services and partner agencies continued to tackle the fires at the three incidents over the weekend. There are currently 50 firefighters on the Tameside moorlands working across four areas and four fire engines remain at the scene in Winter Hill, supporting Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service.
ACFO Hunter added: “As well as staying away from the moors, I would also ask the people of Greater Manchester to take extra care to keep themselves, their families and their property safe – particularly with the hot weather that is expected to continue over the next few weeks.
“We know there will be lots of people having barbecues and enjoying a drink while they watch the football but please stay safe by ensuring barbecues are used safely and are fully extinguished before you go to bed, and please take care when cooking – don’t leave pans unattended and don’t drink and cook.
“Please only call us in an emergency as our control room operators are extremely busy.”
Last Thursday (July 5), Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service provided a map showing the areas on the moorland that have been affected and where we need people to stay away from. More information here.