FIRE and rescue service bosses have appealed people to take care on the East Lancashire moors to avoid a repeat of last year’s wildfires.

From March 1 to May 31 2020, fire fighters were called to 78 wildfire incidents which was an 11 per cent increase on 2019.

Blackburn with Darwen had the second highest number of incidents due to the vast scale of moorland, with 18 wildfires reported with the most severe on open land above Darwen.

Firefighters from Bacup have this week been on the moors above the town creating breaks to prevent uncontrolled fire spread.

The fire and rescue service’s wildfire prevention lead Liam Wilson said: “We are working tremendously hard in preparation for this coming Easter half term which is usually an exceptionally busy time.

“In recent years we have seen an increase in wildfires, some of which have been caused by deliberate or negligent ignition.

“While we understand that people will want to enjoy our beautiful countryside, we would ask people to behave responsibly and to take every possible action to protect their surroundings and prevent a wildfire from starting. Due to the fire and environmental risk, we are asking people not to have barbecues or campfires on moorland or in areas of forestry.”

Sayyed Osman, Blackburn with Darwen Council’s director of adult services, said: “As the weather improves and restrictions are eased, more people will be understandably keen to get out into our beautiful countryside and moorland, but we need people to be careful and to keep themselves and others safe."