Firefighters have been taking part in special training exercises in Spain to equip them to deal with wildfires.

Exercises have also taken place in Oldham, where huge moorland fires broke out in 2018.

The Wildfire Burns Suppression Team, also known as the Burns team, is now live after completing training in Catalonia with the Catalonian Fire and Rescue Service (Bombers) GRAF - Group of Support to Forest Actions - team.

Crews from Mossley, Ashton, Stalybridge, and Hyde community fire stations took part in an exercise in Dovestones, alongside the RSPB and United Utilities, to test joint working in a controlled environment and to improve understanding of each other’s capabilities.

With temperatures set to rise in the coming weeks and months, the threat of wildfires in the Greater Manchester area is rising.

The Bolton News: Training at DovestonesTraining at Dovestones (Image: GMFRS)

Station Manager Martin Cain, who lead the wildfire training, said: "The terrain of Saddleworth presents a great opportunity for us to bring together our new skills and equipment so that we can be prepared for the warmer weather and should we get the call to deal with a moorland fire.

"Protecting such a diverse region as Greater Manchester means we need skills in tackling fires in high-rise city centre apartment blocks just as much as large, undulating moorland."

With the Bank Holiday weekend set to see sunny and warm days, GMFRS is asking for people to reduce the risk of deadly and devastation moorland fires, and to ‘Be Moore Aware’.

Barbecues, fireworks and fires should not be used on moorland, and the consequences of starting such a fire can include facing a fine or even prison.

The Bolton News: Training in CataloniaTraining in Catalonia (Image: GMFRS)

Station Manager at Bolton - which had the Winter Hill fire in 2018 -Ady Taylor said: "The conditions over in Catalonia are ideal to prepare us for dealing with dry moorland here in the warmer months.

"We have seen the devastation moorland fires can cause all too well across our city-region and they are incredibly costly to deal with, taking up a lot of resources, causing damage to the environment and disruption to our communities

"Though the beautiful scenery may seem a lovely backdrop for a BBQ in the sunshine, the consequences can be devastating. Please be considerate."

GMFRS' key messages for the campaign are:

  • Act responsibly on the Moors, no BBQs, fires, or fireworks 
  • Dispose of all your rubbish correctly, do not litter 
  • Report any suspicious activity or call 999 if you see a fire 
  • Consequences of starting a fire can result in a fine and/or prison
  • Wildfires cause serious damage to wildlife and use a lot of resources from the fire service to put out