Eight fire engines and 50 firefighters were called to a wildfire off Sunnyhurst Lane, Darwen yesterday evening at about 5.10pm.

Firefighters working alongside Lancashire Police and United Utilities extinguished the blaze, which was 400 metres by 100 metres, by 9.30pm that same evening, with some crew members remaining behind to monitor the situation.

No injuries were reported and investigations into the cause of the fire are ongoing, but this is the fourth time in less than 24 hours that fire crews were called to fires out in the open.

Chief Fire Officer Justin Johnston said: "We really don’t need this during coronavirus lockdown.

"In my experience this will be a deliberate fire or careless use of a BBQ.

"Please help us to help you. Stay Home Save Lives."

The incidents come only days after Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service published a statement on the increase in 'deliberate' fire starting across the county.

The statement read: "There has been a recent increase in fires thought to have been started deliberately across the county over recent days and sadly we know that as a service we are not alone in seeing this trend."

On Monday evening, two fire engines from Clitheroe station were called to a fire involving two separate piles of rubbish just off the A59 close to the McDonalds.

The fires were reported at around 9.58pm and firefighters remained at the scene until 11.40pm.

Earlier on Monday morning, at around 4.30am, four fire crews from Clitheroe, Padiham and Hyndburn were called to a barn fire on Heron Mews in Clitheroe.

Despite no injuries reported, an investigation into the cause of the fire was launched and crews remained at the incident well into mid-morning.

A fire service spokesperson said: "At 10.30am on Monday, two fire engines remained at the scene to rake out the hay and straw which was still smouldering."

Meanwhile, crews from Padiham and Bacup were called to a large grass fire close to Crown Point in Burnley on Monday afternoon, which took them a good few hours to extinguish.

On Tuesday evening a spokesperson for Padiham fire station said: "Yesterday we attended our first Wildfire of the season.

"Lots of people walking in the area and stopping to take photos.

"Whilst we appreciate you might want to watch us, please remember the importance of staying out of the smoke plume and abide by social distancing."

Group Manager Shaun Walton, who is also the National Fire Chiefs Council’s Wildfire Group Deputy Chair and Wildfire Tactical Advisor Lead Officer said: “It is vitally important that we all take proactive and responsible steps to reduce the likelihood of wildfires starting.

“We find ourselves in an ever changing, challenging and unprecedented time and we’re urging landowners and managers to exercise caution when considering controlled burns and only carry out burns if they are essential."

Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service is working hard to ensure they are able to support the people of Lancashire with effective incident response and support for the most vulnerable during the coronavirus outbreak and are urging caution to members of the public too.

GM Walton went on to say: “Having the support of both the public, landowners and managers at this time will undoubtedly help us deal with the additional pressures we’re facing as a result of the coronavirus outbreak and maintain some vital resilience.

“We are continuing to work with partners investigating these fires and would encourage anyone with any information to come forward and speak to the Police.

"In the meantime, we ask that people do as required in this national emergency and stay at home."