HEARTS sank when the sickeningly familiar sight of flames on Winter Hill appeared at the weekend.

The devastation suffered by the moorland and wildlife when the hills burned for 41 days last summer was something that no one ever wanted to see again.

So the 'here we go again' headline was one that none of us wanted to read.

The cause is as yet unknown, so let's hope it does not turn out to be arson.

People who enjoy the hills around the Bolton are well advised never to light fires.

But those who do think they are safe to camp in the wild outdoors should be as well prepared and skilled as the 'Bear Grylls'-boy-Scout-type adventurers who lit a safe campfire off Green Lane, Horwich at the weekend.

Firefighters commented on its safety. Unfortunately the adventurers didn't seem to be so well prepared that they had travelled equipped with a torch. And when one of the group, who say they regularly camp out in forest areas, wandered off, he fell down a ten foot ditch. He had to be rescued by firefighters who trekked 300 metres over hills and streams to reach him, then carry him back on a stretcher.

The moral of both of these stories seems to be, yet again, safety first. Probably best to enjoy the great outdoors during daylight hours, and don't light fires.

And if you are camping overnight, take a torch, and stay with your group.