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'Suspicious' fire on moorland near Darwen
A BLAZE on the moors above Darwen is being treated as suspicious by the fire service.
Two fire engines from the town attended the fire at about 5pm on Monday. And after investigating the incident, officers said the fire was thought to have been started deliberately.
Ten firefighters battled the blaze, which covered an area about 30 metres long, for 90 minutes.
It came just days after another huge fire – with fronts 100m long and 1km long – raged on the moorland above the town.
Darwen fire crew manager Dave Forth said: “There were no ignition sources around that area so there was no other way it could have started.
“We also want people to be careful when using the pathways if they are smoking. Please ensure cigarettes are fully extinguished or take them home with you.”
Fire service spokesman John Taylor said although the blaze was not hugely serious, fires of that nature could get out of control.
He said: “Two years ago we had a week-long moorland fire in the Rivington, Belmont and Turton area that used a lot of resources and cost about £3million.
“Fires like that can escalate quickly. When it takes hold and progresses across mainland it goes faster than people can run.
“So if you are up there it can overtake you and have phenomenal consequences.”
Mr Taylor said fires on moorland could also have a knock-on effect for Darwen. He said: “The heather and moss on the moors soak up a lot of water and you have to bear in mind that Darwen has been heavily afflicted by flooding recently. If the moorland was destroyed then that could make a contribution to flood risk.
“It also diverts vital fire service resources away from incidents such as road traffic accidents.”