Put an end to fires on the moors!

With spring on the way, three local councils in the UK are reminding people that activities posing a fire risk are banned on local moorland. Lighting barbecues, building or lighting campfires, setting off fireworks, or releasing paper sky lanterns were all prohibited by Bolton, Blackburn with Darwen, and Chorley councils last year due to the high risk of causing wildfires.

These councils are collaborating with Lancashire and Greater Manchester Police and Fire Services to use legal powers to safeguard the environment and moorland. Each council has implemented a Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO) covering a large area of moorland, including Winter Hill.

Violating the PSPO is a criminal offense and could lead to a fine of up to £1,000. The ban applies to public open spaces, meaning any land within the restricted area where there is public access or a right of way.

Moorland fires are challenging to control, as seen during the Winter Hill fires in 2018 when over 100 firefighters and 20 fire engines battled the blaze. Representatives from the councils, police, and fire service recently gathered to raise awareness of the new order and urge people to stay safe in the area.

The PSPO will be in effect for three years, with exemptions available for community events requiring fires if they meet certain criteria. Councillors from the councils emphasised the importance of protecting the moorlands from devastating fires and highlighted the public support for these measures.

They stressed the need for a collaborative approach to reduce the risk of wildfires and ensure the safety of residents, communities, businesses, and wildlife. Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service expressed their support for the PSPO and their commitment to working with partners to protect the outdoors.

Greater Manchester Police also backed the PSPO, highlighting the destructive impact of moorland fires on habitats, wildlife, and communities. They vowed to monitor the areas around Winter Hill and Bolton to ensure responsible behaviour and deter any breaches of the order.

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