THE Smithills Estate has recruited a new roster of fire patrollers in a bid to avoid a repeat of the carnage seen during the moor fires of 2018.

Large swathes of moorland were reduced to charred earth as fires ripped across the Winter Hill area.

Fires burned for more than 40 days and destroyed whole ecosystems.

With lockdown restrictions easing - and people eager to take advantage of allowed outdoor gatherings and the upcoming summer - the Smithills Estate is keen to do it all it can to protect its vast 1,700 acre land from the dry weather.

Tracey Garrett, general manager at Smithills Estate Woodland Trust, said: “We have been working with a lot of different groups and organisations, including United Utilities and Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service to encourage people to get out on the moors so that we can stop problems before they start.

“That will include stopping people having barbecues or discarding of other flammable things that can start fires instantly. Ideally, no-one would have barbecues on the moors but people do and we have to respond to that.”

The estate has brought in a dozen volunteers, who will patrol set routes around the moors to ensure that early blaze warnings can be reported and tackled immediately. They began operating over the previous week and are gearing up for a busy few months ahead.

And Tracey said that the patrols were needed “more than ever” as people flock outdoors.

She added: “We really just don’t want a repeat of what we saw a couple of years ago. It is tough work trying to patrol the moors and keep them safe, but we are doing our best to ensure that they are. We have had quite a few volunteers and we hope to bring in quite a few more.

“They will be covering the whole area and trying to nip problems in the bud when they arise. They will also be offering advice to people about keeping the moors safe and being responsible while on them. It is just all about trying to protect the outdoors.”

For more information on the Smithills Estate, visit