FOUR fire engines and an aerial support drone have remained on Winter Hill today as the incident continues to de-escalate 21 days after flames first erupted.

Fire crews have said they are beginning the process of putting out the last hot spots and gathering the masses of equipment deployed to the moorland, before they will hand over the recovery operation to local councils.

Road closures are no longer in place around the moor, however people are still being told to stay away from the area.

A spokesman from Lancashire and Rescue Service said: "The firefighting is winding down now. We have had four fire engines and drone to pick out the hot spots and there's just a few hot spots up at the top.

"Now the biggest operation is going to be getting all the equipment off the moor, there's miles and miles of hose and other equipment to collect over several square kilometers, and the final task of extinguishing the last hot spots of burning peat.

"The rain helps but didn't completely extinguish everything. But we didn't expect that unless we had several days of rain.

"That leaves a lot of work still to be done before we can say the incident is finally over.

"In emergency planning it will move into the recovery phase and be handed over to the local authority to manage getting things as near to normal as possible."