The fire service has issued a warning to people deliberately setting fires.

It comes after 50 firefighters were called to Darwen Moors on Tuesday afternoon, and spent more than five hours bringing the blaze under control.

Officials from the brigade have warned that these callous actions could be contributing to early deaths of people across the region.

A spokesperson for the fire service said: "To the people who are deliberately setting fires to the moors, your actions are contributing to the early deaths of people across the region.

"Those individuals who seek to aggravate an already difficult situation, we ask them to think about the wider consequences of their actions.

"Tying up valuable emergency service resources could have serious consequences for other people in the community who may genuinely really need our help.

"When you do go for you one hour-a-day exercise, there is absolutely no need to take lighters or matches with you."

The warning was issued alongside a statement in regards to an increase in nuisance fires across the whole of Lancashire.

The statement read: "Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service are working hard to ensure we’re able to support the people of Lancashire, keeping communities safe with incident response and also doing what we can to protect the most vulnerable and prevent the spread of coronavirus.

"However in recent weeks, the improving weather has brought with it a notable increase in nuisance fires.

"From small bonfires in gardens to anti-social fire setting out in the community.

"It is an issue that Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service and our partners within local councils are keen to address."

Such behaviour, including controlled burning that has gotten out of hand, or fires being set with more malicious intent, has been branded irresponsible by the National Fire Chief's Council.

And due to local councils running reduced waste collection services and closing recycling centres, the fire service are now seeing many households using bonfires as a way to dispose of their waste.

The statement continued: "We urge people to be considerate when it comes to burning waste and ask you not to do so at this time.

"Whilst the smells might be unpleasant the smoke could have more serious implications.

"Any neighbours with underlying respiratory issues, or even suffering from coronavirus itself could find their conditions aggravated by these fires.

"You should compost what you can and hold on to any extra waste until normal waste collection services are resumed and waste recycling centres are reopened."

County Councillor Peter Britcliffe who is a member of the Lancashire Fire Authority said he is appalled at the actions of people who are deliberately setting fires.

Cllr Britcliffe said: "Our emergency services are stretched at the moment and it's completely mindless to set fires at any time but at this time it makes it even worse.

"Just stop it for goodness sake and stay at home.

"With waste suspension in place, please just hold on to your bulky items until this is all over and then ask the council to remove it in the normal way."

The fire service will continue to investigate malicious, deliberate fires and encourage anyone with information about such incidents to speak with the police.