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Fire service treating large woodland blaze near Dovestone Reservoir as arson

Emily Sergeant Emily Sergeant - 15th July 2022

Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service (GMFRS) has revealed that it’s treating the large blaze that ravaged woodland in Oldham earlier this week as arson.

Over 50 firefighters from fire crews across the region were called out at around 11pm on Monday 11 July to reports of a woodland fire on Bank Lane in Greenfield, Oldham near to Dovestone Reservoir – one of the area’s most popular beauty spots.

10 fire engines from stations across Greater Manchester were present at the scene, and worked throughout the night to bring the blaze under control.

GMFRS said at the time that the blaze involved “four large seats of fire”.

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Fire crews used hose reels and lighting to bring the blaze under control, GMFRS said, and once the worst of the blaze had now been extinguished, crews remained at the scene to dampen down the affected area.

Read more: Over 50 firefighters tackle woodland fire near Dovestone Reservoir

A fire investigation team also began working to establish the cause of the fire.

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And now, coming up to four days after the blaze has been put out, GMFRS Area Manager Ben Levy has issued a statement to confirm that due to fact that the blaze involved multiple separate fires, the fire service believes this “points towards deliberate fire-setting”.

He added: “We are now treating this as an investigation with Greater Manchester Police and if anybody’s got any information, please do call Crimestoppers.”

The large blaze came after new measures were introduced at the Dovestone Reservoir ahead of the summer in attempts to cut the risk of wildfires.

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A public space protection order is currently in place at the beauty spot to stop any BBQs, campfires, and fireworks from being lit, and two new seasonal fire rangers have been employed with the job of helping to raise awareness of wildfires and their devastating consequences.

The rangers are also conducting an outreach programme in schools and the local community to help visitors understand what they can do to prevent them.

Read more: New measures introduced at Dovestone Reservoir to cut risk of summer wildfires

Oldham Council, Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service (GMRFS), and Greater Manchester Police (GMP) are all working alongside the RSPB and United Utilities to protect the moorland over the next few months as the wildfire risk increases, and just like the rangers, one of the main things they will be doing is making sure people are aware of the public space protection order in place.

Featured Image – GMFRS