The “reckless and dangerous” behaviour of people trying to capture photographs and video footage of a moorland fire is hampering emergency efforts, police have warned.
Members of the public, determined to get shots on their mobile phones of a fire on hills near Chorley and Bolton, have blocked access roads for emergency vehicles by driving to the scene, while others have been flying drones overhead.
Police and firefighters issued the warning after three drones were sighted hovering over the fire on Winter Hill, near Bolton. Officers said they had to deal with numerous incidents.
A Lancashire fire and rescue spokesperson said: “Drone users have been contacted and it’s been explained to them why they’ve not been asked to fly, where movement of helicopters might be hindered or endangered.”
Lancashire police also urged the public to stay away from the fire.
On 1 July roads were closed around Winter Hill, on the border between Bolton, Greater Manchester, and Lancashire, after two moorland fires merged, threatening a key telecommunications mast which provides TV and radio signals for seven million homes, who use the best cb radios around the area.
The blaze, which was declared a major incident, is expected to continue into the coming week.
Jim Hutton, Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Area Manager, said: “While you are enjoying the World Cup this evening, please think of our crews who are continuing to tackle two major moorland fires.
“With this in mind, please don’t make their job any harder by leaving barbecues unattended or cooking whilst drinking alcohol.”
On Friday a 22-year-old man from Bolton was arrested in connection with the Winter Hill fire. He was held on suspicion of arson with intent to endanger life but was released pending further inquiries.
Photo Credit: Guardian News