AS FIREFIGHTERS continue to tackle the devastating moorland blaze their station-based colleagues in Oldham have spent the day putting out a host of deliberately started fires around the borough.

A spokesman from Hollins Fire station said they were called a large grass fire on land near St Martin's Road, in Fitton Hill, at 5.45pm from which youths were seen running away.

The spokesman said they spent 45 minutes putting out the flames which could have easily spread and raged out of control had they not reached it in time.

A crew from Oldham Fire Station was called Furness Avenue, on the Alt estate, at 5pm and spent 30 minutes beating out three seats of fire on grassland believed to have been started by a group of youths. The area is a known hotspot for maliciously started fires, according to a station spokesman.

At around 4pm they attended a fire behind a property in Pearl Mill Close, after someone set fire to a fence panel and conifer.

They also attended moorland flare ups relating to the extensive fire crews, troops and Oldham Mountain Rescue Team have spent battling at locations near Sandy Lane, Diggle, and Friezland Lane and Intake Lane, in Greenfield.

Colleagues from Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service, who were today covering the Oldham station, were also called out to several deliberately started fires in the area.

Crew manager Mark Pomford said: "These incidents are taking up even more of our stretched resources. Kids starting fires are keeping us from attending more serious incidents, particularly at this time.

"Can we also remind people to be fire safety conscious and be particularly aware when having barbecues and not to drop cigarettes in these dry conditions."

FIREFIGHTERS in Oldham have spent the day putting out a host of fires started deliberately around the borough.

A crew from Hollins Fire Station was called out to tackle a blaze on wasteland and woodland on St Martin's Road, in Fitton Hill, at around 5.45pm