People urged to take care in countryside after fire breaks out in Oldham


Following an investigation carried out by GMFRS' specialist officers, the fire in Dove Stone Reservoir on Thursday, April 22, is believed to have been started by a campfire. However, it isn't clear at this stage if the fire was accidental or deliberate. 

GREATER Manchester Fire and Rescue Service (GMFRS) is reminding people to take extra care when visiting the countryside after a wildfire broke out at Dove Stone Reservoir.

GMFRS fire crews were mobilised by North West Fire Control at around 9.45pm on Thursday, April 22, 2021, to reports of a fire in Bank Lane, in the Greenfield area of Oldham.

Two fire engines, two wildfire units and two wildfire support units from Mossley, Chadderton, Stalybridge and Bolton North quickly attended the scene.

The fire involved moorland and a woodland area and covered approximately 20,000 square metres of plantation.

GMFRS’ Group Manager Ian Redfern, who was in charge of the incident at its height, said: “Specialist wildfire crews used new equipment and vehicles to bring the fire under control through the night and did a fantastic job in containing the flames from spreading further.

“The fire is mostly out with crews remaining in attendance damping down any hot spots in the area, supported by our colleagues at RSPB and United Utilities.

“This morning (Friday, April 23, 2021), specialist fire investigation officers from GMFRS are in the Dove Stone area working hard to attempt to establish the cause of the fire.”

Working with local partners, GMFRS has recently been reminding people to stay safe when visiting the countryside by sharing advice and tips on how to prevent wildfires from breaking out, and about the damage this kind of fire causes to the local area, communities, businesses, and the environment.

GMFRS’ Area Manager Paul Duggan, Head of Prevention, said: “The memories of the moorland fires in 2018 remain fresh in the mind of everyone involved, from our firefighters who worked incredibly hard to put the fires out, to the residents who were forced from their homes.

“Moorland and wildfires can be started in a number of ways. Sadly, many fires in the countryside are started deliberately, however, some can break out by people being careless with barbecues, campfires or not disposing of cigarettes properly.

“Our message is strong and clear - never have a barbecue or campfire on the moors or start a fire deliberately. Many people think it’s just the flame from a barbecue that sets the moorland on fire, but it’s actually the heat from the disposable barbecue that often sets peat and dry moorland alight.

“In 2019 GMFRS worked closely with colleagues in Oldham and Tameside councils, which resulted in Public Space Protection Orders now being in place in parts of the two boroughs. This means that anyone found lighting a fire, barbecue, or other objects like fireworks and sky lanterns, will be given a fixed penalty notice of or face prosecution.”

Go to our countryside safety page for more information about wildfires and staying safe in the countryside.

23/04/2021 11:22 AM