One of the region’s most popular beauty spots was left blackened and scorched in a huge fire on Saturday evening. What are typically scenes of rolling green hills complimented with trees and other vegetation were left tarnished by a fire which took crews hours to dampen.
Pictures taken by the Manchester Evening News show the sheer scenes of devastation after the fire ripped through the Saddleworth moorland on Saturday evening and burned an area bigger than two football pitches. The flames ripped through the Dove Stone Reservoir area and completely destroyed new woodland which was planted by local volunteers just last year.
Fire crews were called out to the scene of the fire, around the nearby Binn Green area of the moorland, and were in attendance for a number of hours tackling the flames. This is the latest in a number of fires on Saddleworth Moor, with crews regularly called out to extinguish wildfires, often started by people using barbecues.
On Sunday, the Manchester Evening News returned to Dove Stone to visit the area that was hit by the fire. See pictures taken from the scene in our gallery:
Pictures show burned trees with blackened bases and a dry ground which had been left completely charcoaled by the blaze. The area that was set alight is thought to be around a hectare in size – the equivalent of around two football pitches.
Site manager for the Oldham beauty spot, Kate Hanley, said the fire on Saturday evening (19 March) burned around two and a half football pitches worth of land. Police are said to have launched an investigation to determine the cause of the fire, but Ms Hanley issued a renewed plea to the public not to have BBQs or campfires in the countryside as the region continued to bask in the sunny weather on Sunday (March 20).
Speaking to the M.E.N, Ms Hanley said: “Sadly fires in the Peak District are no longer an uncommon occurrence. This particular fire at Dove Stone last night burned about one hectare of new woodland, which was planted in 2021 with our amazing volunteers from the local community. This is a blow to carbon sequestration, biodiversity and also to the community who helped us create this woodland. However, we will not let this get us down!
“RSPB staff and our wonderful and hard working volunteers will be out next week replacing those trees that died. We are working with the police to determine the cause of this fire.” Dove Stone and much of the surrounding moorland is already covered by a Public Space Protection Order, which means that anyone having fires of any kind could be fined or face more severe penalties.
Interested in Oldham? Sign up to our newsletter to receive all the latest news via email updates.
Sign up to the free MEN email newsletter
Get the latest updates from across Greater Manchester direct to your inbox with the free MEN newsletter
You can sign up very simply by following the instructions here