FIREFIGHTERS are battling a fire on Winter Hill this morning.

Crews from Chorley and Rawtenstall, alongside a fire crew from Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service, were called to an area between the pigeon tower in Rivington and the mast at 3.25am.

United Utilities are also assisting at the scene.

A fire service spokesman said: "On arrival crews requested additional resources at the scene and increased it to six fire engines in total with additional resources from GMFRS.

"Approximately one hectare of grass is on fire and firefighters are working to extinguish the fire using a haggling off road vehicle, two blowers and firefighters with beaters.

"The air support unit is now in attendance to assist with tactical support for the incident and the burn team from Bacup have also been requested."

One crew from Blackburn Fire Station has since been sent to assist.

Firefighters reported at 8am that they were continuing to extinguish hot spot pockets of fire on foot using beaters and blowers. The hagglund vehicle was also still in use.

At 9.30am it was reported that firefighters were continuing to dampen down hot spot areas at the scene and additional support was being provided with a Polaris vehicle from United Utilities which has a fogger on board to assist with the dampening down.

At 10.30am the burn team from Bacup were working to cut back vegetation to the side of the fire to help prevent it spreadign further. Firefighters were also continuing to dampen down smouldering areas.

Eyewitness and photographer Phil Taylor said at 2pm: "Fire crews now seem to be damping down. But the fire could be seen bursting up from the ground where it had previously been dampened.

"Fire crews have blocked off access to Winter Hill from Georges Lane.

"They have been taking water up to the Pigeon Tower from around George's Lane then loading the pumps."

At 3pm firefighters were using a digger from United Utilities to create fire breaks along the fire front. Two water bowsers were also beign used to shuttle water to the fire ground.

At 8pm two fire crews remained in attendance damping down.

Firefighters continund damping down on Sunday morning.

To see a gallery of photographs from the scene click here.