A MOORLAND blaze became latest chapter of an Easter break of chaos and drama on Saddleworth moors on Wednesday night.

Fire crews from Oldham, Bolton, Littleborough and West Yorkshire were scrambled to a patch of moorland at Brun Clough Reservoir near Diggle just after 7pm.

Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service said the flames were extinguished after about 90 minutes with crews leaving the scene after two hours.

Craig Best, National Trust countryside and partnership manager for West Yorkshire, speaking in the wake of the fires, said “ We have been very lucky ...”

The cause of blaze is so far unknown.

However, the area is a notorious haunt for rogue barbecuers and fire starters who persist is defying legislation brought in to prevent the kind of damage to the moors which occurred during the hot summer of 2018 when the Army was required to assist in quelling moorland blazes on West Pennine moors which could seen from space.

This has prompted water company United Utilities, which owns the moorland, to post a dramatic video highlighting the horrific consequences caused by disposable barbecues on YouTube. It can be seen

Illegal barbecues have been confiscated at Dovestone Reservoir, Greenfield and on Easter Monday a local man discovered two handmade fires set in woodland near Binn Green car park.

Although the UU film focused on a disposable barbecue on a blaze at Darwen Moor in May last year, conservationists point to that incident as marker for ongoing issues.

And wardens and landowners say evidence of barbecues across the fragile Pennine moorlands points to people risks with their lives, the environment and possibly their liberty.

Despite being completely unintentional, the Darwen fire resulted in two men being taken to court. Both recently started reparation work on damaged moorland to help the recovery effort and help spread the word about the danger.

Their story is now part of a public information campaign to warn people not to use barbecues on the moorland under any circumstances because of the ever-present risk of starting an uncontrollable fire.

It is being fronted by UU, Lords Hall Estates and Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service, who were all seriously affected by the incident last May.

UU catchment manager is Matt Upton, who helped organise support for the firefighting effort using helicopters and bowsers to bring additional water to the site, said many people used barbecues without understanding the risks.

Mr Upton said: "People do not realise the risk they're taking. Our advice is never to light fires. The conditions up here are totally different and you're a long way from help. Come and enjoy the countryside but respect it and leave it as you would want to find it."

Meanwhile, on Marsden Moor which links the Saddleworth border, hard pressed National Trust rangers spent hours moving 100 bags rubbish dumped in moorland and streams off the main A62 Huddersfield-Oldham Road.

Experts say the rubbish was the remains of a giant cannabis farm and brought danger to wildlife, the habitat and visitors.

Mr Best added: “The farm had made hundreds of thousands of pounds for its illegal owners and then was unceremoniously dumped.

“There is no way they would have taken the rubbish to a proper tip. It’s danger people, the habit and wildlife. It’s crazy what is going on.”