SOME scenarios are so mind-boggling that it’s hard to comprehend them.

The last week or so has given us a perfect example.

A huge fire raged on Saddleworth Moor, near Oldham. Hundreds of firefighters were drafted in to tackle it, working in hellish temperatures and conditions.

Then, just three days later, a fire flared up on moorland around Winter Hill, which stretched Greater Manchester and Lancashire firefighters to the limit.

Crews from across the country were drafted in to help to save homes and wildlife in the Rivington and Belmont areas.

Even now, crews from the Midlands and London are travelling to Bolton to support the North West firefighters, who have been working incredibly long hours to keep the flames under control.

That huge fire, which could be seen for miles around, has been a major incident for a week and will need to be tackled for days to come.

Here’s the mind-boggling bit: both the Winter Hill and Saddleworth fires are suspected to have been caused deliberately.

To paraphrase Gunner Sgt Hartman from the movie Full Metal Jacket - just what are these people’s major malfunction?

Fires caused by stupidity and carelessness are bad enough.

Lancashire Fire Service expressed their ‘dismay’ yesterday at finding a discarded disposable barbecue on grassland at Winter Hill which they say could easily have started a blaze as big as the one they are fighting.

But who on earth would want to start a fire that would put human and wildlife at risk?

It absolutely beggars belief.

Let’s hope that those responsible are caught and dealt with properly; a clear message needs to be sent out that starting fires can have the most catastrophic consequences, to both the environment, to the people who live there and the brave men and women who risk their lives to prevent the flames spreading.

Those who start fires deliberately are potential killers and it is to be hoped that when the perpetrators are taken to court they treated as such.

The good news is, that thanks to the emergency services, volunteers and our local community pulling together, the bewildering actions of morons have been eclipsed by wonderful and inspiring teamwork from all parts of the community.

Even local businesses rallied round to help. Holden’s and Co Ice Cream, based in Edgworth village, has been driving its ice cream van up to the moors for the past couple of days, handing out free cones and lollies to exhausted and overheated firefighters.

Holden’s had apparently struggled to get near to the scene because of the many road closures, but eventually found a spot where crews had set up to get changed and re-supplied.

Communities across Bolton also called into fire stations to drop off bottles of water and sun cream, as well as other supplies, to help crews.

Within a couple of days, there was so much donated, that stations had more than enough.

It is heartwarming to know that for every waste of space who thinks it’s a good idea to start a grass fire, that there are thousands who appreciate the hard work and dedication of our firefighters and want to help and support them in any way they can.