Man arrested over Winter Hill moorland blaze

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A man has been arrested on suspicion of arson after a fire broke out on moorland near Bolton.

The police and fire service have launched a joint investigation into the cause of the blaze on Winter Hill in Lancashire, which emergency crews have been battling to stop spreading since Thursday.

A 22-year-old from Bolton has been held on suspicion of arson with intent to endanger life.

The fire started around 30 miles (50km) from a large blaze on Saddleworth Moor, which has been raging since Sunday.

Flames covering seven square miles on Saddleworth have covered the Greater Manchester region in smoke and ash.

Soldiers have joined firefighters in trying to contain the fire.

Resources have been further stretched with another fire at Higher Swineshaw, near Stalybridge.

Soldiers from The Highlanders, 4th Battalion, Royal Regiment of Scotland work to bring the fire under control on Saddleworth Moor
Image: Soldiers joined the firefighting effort on Saddleworth Moor

The fires have been exacerbated by extremely hot weather, making them more difficult to put out.

The UK enjoyed the hottest day of the year on Thursday as the temperature soared to 33C (91.4F).

Porthmadog in Wales reached the sweltering high, beating successive highs since Monday.

Tony Hunter, assistant chief fire officer of Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service, said there had been a “significant” improvements in tackling the blaze on Saddleworth Moor.

But Mr Hunter warned that while the fire was now “contained and under control”, “things can develop” and if the wind blows the flames back on to the moors it will act as a “fuel source” for the fire.

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A helicopter carries a container with water from Upper Swineshaw Reservoir before dumping the water onto smouldering fires on Saddleworth moor
Image: The authorities say a downpour of rain is needed

Mr Hunter said a “significant downpour of rain” would help – but none is forecast for days as the heatwave continues into the weekend.

It has been warned the fires could take weeks to put out.

From – SkyNews

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