Two men who assisted the fire service during the three days and nights of the Darwen Moors fire have been commended for their work.

James Readfern and Jake Kay work up at Lords Hall Estate in Darwen and on March 19 they were presented with a certificate of appreciation at Darwen fire station

Both men were working on the estate last May, when the fire broke out, and given the demand on the fire service during that time, their support was invaluable.

A spokesperson for the fire service said: "Their support most certainly helped prevent further escalation of the incident and any additional loss of wildlife and moorland vegetation."

Group Manager, Liam Wilson and Station Manager Rob Harvey presented them with their certificate and letter of appreciation outside the station.

GM Wilson said: “Both James and Jake demonstrated their professionalism and due diligence in supporting firefighting operations and helping to identify emerging risks which were unknown to fire crews at the time.

"And so it’s only right that we recognise them for that today.”

From left to right: James Readfern, Group Manager Liam Wilson, Jake Kay, Station Manager Rob Harvey. Pic: HENRY SUNG

From left to right: James Readfern, Group Manager Liam Wilson, Jake Kay, Station Manager Rob Harvey. Pic: HENRY SUNG

Mr Readfern is the moorland manager employed by The Lords Hall Estate, and Mr Kay is his apprentice.

Their actions saved the fire from spreading to the northern section of the moor up to and beyond the tower.

Following investigations, the cause of fire was found to be a barbecue, and while it wasn't intentional, the impact the fire had on the land is still evident today.

Two men were reported for arson and were due to appear before the courts in February.

However, after much involvement from the owners of Lords Hall Estate, they managed to persuade the police and the CPS to implement a conditional caution, whereby the men had to undertake 150 hours of remedial works on the moor, repairing some of the damage they caused.

They are now being supervised by Mr Readfern, and as well as being grateful for a second chance, are genuinely enjoying the work and experience.

The Darwen Moors fires of 2020

The Darwen Moors fires of 2020

A spokesperson for the Lords Hall Estate said: "We intervened when the local lads were charged by the police with reckless arson, and managed to persuade the police and CPS to instead instead implement a conditional caution.

"They took a portable BBQ onto the moor, and the consequence was a huge wildfire that lasted three days, wrote off 630 acres, about one third of the moor, and killed thousands of birds and animals.

"A stupid thing to do, but not something they should go to prison for - they stayed at the scene, and dialled 999 when they realised what they had done.

"So this is a positive and constructive outcome.

"They are co-operating on public education about the dangers (and illegality) of taking fire onto our moors, and last week we were filming a video up there, which we are hoping will be out before Easter."