A Spar store in Bolton, Lancashire, has teamed up with its local James Hall depot to provide much-needed support for exhausted fire crews who have been battling the vast Winter Hill moorlands fire to the north of the store.

Fire-fighters from Lancashire Fire and Rescue Services, alongside Greater Manchester crews, have been attempting to tame the Winter Hill blaze for more than two weeks.

The fire, which is believed to have been started by arson, has destroyed over 18 square kilometres of heather moorland, upland grassland and woodland.

Shahnaz Patel, manager of the Deane Road Spar store, told C-Store the fire had been a huge blow to the local community.

“Local people are shocked by what is happening, it’s just so devastating and the fire-crews are working so hard to try and get it under control. We just had to do something to show our support, so we asked them what they needed,” she said.

“Bottles of water, energy drinks, plasters and socks, was their answer, so we approached the James Hall depot in Preston to see how we could work together to donate as much of it as we could.The donations were very gratefully received, we just needed to do something to show our appreciation and give back.” 

Two men have been arrested on suspicion of arson, but both have now been released.

At the height of the incident, which began on Thursday 28 June, there were over 30 fire engines supported by multiple partners, specialist wildfire fighting teams and fire and rescue services from other areas of the country.

Firefighters have now brought the moorland fire under full control, although Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service said there was ”significant work ahead to bring the incident to an end”.

The number of fire engines at the incident, which spans around 18 sq km of moorland, is currently six during peak hours: five from Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service and one from Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service.