Lancashire

Fourth fire breaks out on blaze-hit moorland in Lancashire

A fourth moorland fire has broken out in Lancashire, as crews enter their seventh day of tackling large blazes.

Six fire engines were called to moorland off Jackson Heights Road at Pickup Bank, Darwen at about 0205 BST.

Crews have been dealing with a huge fire on moors near Belmont since Friday. There have also been large fires on moors near Bacup and Ormskirk.

The fire service said it expected to put out the fire near Belmont later. It has closed The Pike Road for access.

A spokesman said: "A combination of hot, dry weather and continuous and strong prevailing winds throughout the incident has determined the progress of the response - at first battling a 50ft high and rapidly advancing wall of flame and smoke along a 4km flame front, then methodically extinguishing the pockets of flame that burned in the dense root systems of peat moss deep below the surface, over an area of 6 sq km of open moorland and woodland.

"To give firefighters uninterrupted access during the final phase of the incident, from 6am it will be necessary to close the road known locally as The Pike Road for the remainder of the day, or a lesser duration if possible depending on how quickly they are able to bring the incident to a close."

The fire service said crews had been left physically exhausted in recent days, as they were having to dig up the ground before getting to smouldering fire deep in the peat.

It is thought the moors and their wildlife could take decades to recover from the fires.

In Greater Manchester, fires have broken out at the Red Moss nature reserve near Horwich, and off Chapeltown Road in Turton, near Bolton.

There have also been blazes in parts of the Scottish Highlands, Wales, Berkshire, Yorkshire and Northern Ireland.

The UK experienced the hottest April on record, and the 11th driest, the Met Office said. This creates ideal conditions for the moorland fires, and difficulties in extinguishing them.

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