Greater Manchester fire service to receive moorland blaze cash boost

A firefighter tackles the Winter Hill blaze in June 2018 Image copyright PA
Image caption The fires burned throughout the summer of 2018

Greater Manchester's fire service will be reimbursed for the cost of tackling the huge moorland fires of 2018, the region's mayor has said.

Andy Burnham said the government had made a "commitment" to meeting the cost, but the amount had not been confirmed.

Soldiers and extra firefighters were used to battle the blazes on Saddleworth Moor and Winter Hill.

Mr Burnham previously said the fire service's budget had a £1m hole in it.

The mayor told the Local Democracy Reporter Service: "We're almost a year on, but yes, we have had word.

"Although we've not been told how much, we've had the commitment that [the government] will meet the additional costs that fell to our fire and rescue service."

Image caption Mayor Andy Burnham visited crews fighting the blaze on Winter Hill

Mr Burnham had asked to be allowed to recoup funds under the Bellwin scheme, which gives special financial assistance to councils facing extra costs due to disasters or or emergencies.

Firefighters from 20 different services were drafted in to help tackle the two fires in Greater Manchester and Lancashire.

The Saddleworth blaze broke out on 24 June and about 100 soldiers were drafted in to help tackle it at its height.

Hundreds of firefighters also tackled the Winter Hill blaze, which broke out four days after the Saddleworth fire, and spread across 7 sq miles (18 sq km) of land.

Two men were arrested over the Winter Hill fire and later released under investigation.

At its peak the fire covered an area of 7 sq miles (18 sq km) of moorland.

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