FAQs - Tameside and Winter Hill moorland incidents
Incident Date: 03 July 2018
Supplies and donations
We have been inundated with enquiries and comments regarding the very kind donation of supplies to our firefighters in relation to two ongoing incidents in Stalybridge and Bolton. As the incidents have scaled back, we are no longer in need of any donations.
- What kind of supplies do your firefighters need?
We want to send a huge thank you to the public for their overwhelming support as our crews continue to tackle the moorland fires in Tameside and Bolton. Our firefighters are extremely grateful for your kind messages and donations. As the incidents have scaled back, we are no longer in need of any donations.
Can I make a financial donation?
We can’t accept your money, but if you do wish to make a donation, a contribution to The Fire Fighters Charity would be gratefully received. You can find out more about the charity here: https://www.firefighterscharity.org.uk
We are really grateful to the members of the public who have offered to volunteer their time to help deal with the moorland incidents and share their ideas but we have the resources we need at this time and we would to urge the public to stay away from the area.
- Do you need any help fighting the fires on the moors?
Thank you for the offer but the best thing you can do to help us is staying away and avoiding the area. Our firefighting efforts will be obstructed by members of the public who may come into difficulty on the moor.
- Have you thought about: a) digging trenches around the fire b) using specialist aircraft c) using another method of firefighting that you have heard about?
We have considered all options and at this time we have what we need and we are doing all we can to extinguish the fire. The fire is burning underground in some areas, meaning only a heavy downpour will eventually put it out.
- Are we able to come and watch the firefighters working and look at the fire engines?
Absolutely not. Avoid the area as it is incredibly dangerous to members of the public. Do not drive to the incident and leave cars parked to have a walk around as cars are blocking access for emergency service vehicles.
Smoke can be an irritant, particularly for those with respiratory or heart problems. There are a number of things to consider if you live locally to any of the ongoing incidents.
- There is a lot of smoke around my house and it smells. Should I be concerned?
Residents in areas affected by smoke should stay indoors, keep their windows and doors closed, and tune in to the local radio station for advice and information. When the smoke has moved away and is no longer visible, think about opening doors and windows to allow the house to cool down. If the direction of the wind changes and smoke returns to the area, remember to return inside and shut windows and doors again until the smoke has visibly cleared. If people need to be outdoors, they are advised to avoid areas affected by any smoke or ash, or to limit the time that they spend in them.
Smoke can irritate air passages, the skin and the eyes leading to coughing and wheezing, breathlessness and chest pain. It can also worsen existing problems such as asthma and people with asthma should carry their inhaler with them at all times. Anyone concerned about their symptoms should contact their GP or NHS 111.
- Is it safe to drive through smoke?
Motorists who have to travel through the smoke should keep windows closed and switch air conditioning systems to recycle or recirculate air.
- Is there any more public health advice in relation to the ongoing incidents?
Yes – follow @PHE_NorthWest on Twitter for advice. If you are concerned about any symptoms, contact your GP or NHS 111.
- We appreciate the hot weather is having a combined effect and also recommend that people in affected areas:
- draw curtains to limit direct sunlight heating-up internal surfaces in the home
- wear lighter clothing
- keep hydrated with cool drinks
- cool your skin with water, for example by using cool showers
- limit activities that might contribute to emissions within the home such as cooking
- set any air conditioning to recirculate mode
- limit the time you spend outdoors and avoid strenuous physical activity
Advice on clean-up and recovery
Public Health England would not expect there to be a significant risk from short-term contact with ash and soot. Because of its size it is unlikely that it could be inhaled if disturbed and so would be unlikely to cause any respiratory symptoms. It can safely be washed off cars and outdoor furniture.
How can I prevent these fires occurring?
- Don’t discard cigarettes or matches whilst walking or driving through the countryside
- Do not have barbecues in unauthorised areas and never leave them unattended
- Don’t start campfires
- Don’t discard rubbish – litter such as reflective cans and glass can start fires
What to do if you discover a fire
- If you need to move to a safe place and call the fire service on 999 immediately, provide as much detail as you can – size of fire, location and terrain
- Don’t tackle the fire
- If you haven’t already, self-evacuate the area as soon as possible – these fires can spread fast
- Are any schools local to me closed because of these incidents?
No. All schools in both Tameside and Bolton remain open despite the ongoing incidents. If you have concerns about your child attending school near to these incidents please refer to the public health advice above.
- Is there any road closures I should be aware of as a result of these incidents?
A number of roads near to Winter Hill have been closed as a result of the incidents:
Scout Road, Belmont Road, Smithills Dean Road at the junction with Scout Road, Longshore Ford Road, Walker Fold Road at its junction with Chorley Old Road, Georges Lane at the junction with Matchmoor Lane, Marklands Road at the junction with Georges Lane, Old Rake at the junction with Georges Lane and Belmont Road at its junction with Rivington Terraced Gardens.
In Tameside, Huddersfield Road between Manchester Road and Moorlands Drive is currently limited to access only.
Walking access - Winter Hill
With more fine weather to come over the next few days and into the weekend, Bolton Mountain Rescue Team have provided this map for any keen walkers out there. It shows the areas that have been affected by the fire and where we need people to stay clear from. This cordon is not only for public safety but it will help ensure we can maintain the momentum and progress we've made so far. This will help us give you back full access to the moors as soon as possible.