A WILDFIRE which broke out near Winter Hill this afternoon is thought to have been started deliberately.

Fire officers are now appealing for information to catch those responsible.

More than 40 firefighters were called to tackle the large blaze at 2.24pm.

Eight fire engines from stations including Chorley, Blackburn, Bacup, Preston, and Horwich helped to tackle the flames.

Aerial support was requested to help prioritise resources and spot fires burning underground.

The wind drove the fire from the blue lagoon side of the hill towards the monument on Rivington.

More than 2km of land has been damaged as flames reached heights of 6m.

Senior fire officer Shaun Walton said: We have now extinguished the wildfire at winter hill, we will be at the scene damping down for a few hours.

LancashireFRS are treating the wildfire at Belmont Winter Hill as deliberate ignition."

He appealed for anyone with information to contact Lancashire Police.

The fire broke out as GMP Bolton North posted that officers were receiving reports that people were having a barbecue at Winter Hill.

They warned that fines would be issued for anyone found flouting current regulations which have come into force in the wake of the coronavirus.