Action is to be taken to prevent any repeat of the Winter Hill wildfire which devastated the moorland above Bolton.

Bolton Council, along with neighbouring authorities, is  seeking to bring in a Public Space Protection Order (PSPO) banning activities on Winter Hill including lighting barbeques, campfires or camping stoves; lighting fireworks or setting off night sky paper lanterns.

The move follows the devastation on Winter Hill in 2018 and Darwen Moor in May 2020 when fire crews spent a week putting out wildfire spread over three miles caused by a disposable barbeque.

Blackburn with Darwen Council and Chorley is seeking the order to stop individuals or groups from committing anti-social behaviour on the West Pennine Moors.

Moorland fire in Bolton sparks warning from firefighters

Bolton Council seeks new powers to protect moorland from fire

Breaching the proposed PSPO would be a criminal offence with a fine of up to £1,000.

As the consultation comes to an end, before a final decision is made, figures reveal  that last summer was a busy time for firefighters in Greater Manchester, as record temperatures sparked a wave of fires across the country.

The Government has been warned more extreme weather linked to climate change will mean more fire risks to the public and faces calls for more investment from the firefighters' union.

The Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service was called to 3,320 fires in the third quarter of 2022, across July, August, and September.

That period coincides with last year's summer heatwave, when a record-breaking 40.3C was recorded at Coningsby in Lincolnshire on July 19.

The Met Office has since revealed 2022 was the joint-hottest summer on record in England.

The figures show a 30 per cent increase on the same period in 2021, when the fire service was called to 2,561 fires.

While firefighters deal with a wide range of incidents, the total number of fires rose significantly across England.

There were  2,359 secondary fires – generally small outdoor fires, not involving people or property – an increase of 53 per cent on the number in summer 2021 when there were 1,546.

Across England, July to September 2022 saw more fires than in any other three-month period for over a decade.

There were 68,278 recorded fires, more than in a single quarter since 2011.

Last summer England saw the joint warmest mean temperature ever recorded (17.1C) equalling that of summer 2018, while some areas saw less than 50 per cent of their typical summer rainfall.

Matt Wrack, general secretary of the Fire Brigades Union warned climate change means fire services need to do more to prepare for future extreme weather, and the impact it has on firefighters.

He said: "The Government has turned a blind eye to the obvious: the climate emergency means record breaking heatwaves. Rising temperatures mean an increase in dangerous fires. More fires mean more pressure on firefighters and our fire service.

"However, our fire service has been cut to the bone over the last decade, and 11,500 firefighter jobs have been slashed since 2010.

"The fire and rescue service must urgently plan for this coming summer and for the future. This must involve properly funding and resourcing our service for the years to come.

"Politicians and chief fire officers have ignored years of warnings. Now they must act."

A Home Office spokesperson acknowledged the increase in fire numbers but said there had been no corresponding increase in fire-related fatalities compared to the previous year.

They said: “The Government is committed to ensuring fire services have the resources they need to keep us safe, including from wildfires, and, overall, fire and rescue authorities received around £2.5 billion in 2022-23.

“The Home Office maintains regular engagement with national bodies including the National Fire Chiefs Council and England and Wales Wildfire Forum to monitor and review sector led improvements to wildfire response and mitigation.”