FIREFIGHTERS have warned landowners not to start fires in these ‘challenging and unprecedented times’.

Three fire crews from Ulverston and Millom, a wildfire unit, Landrover and a fire manager were called to Kirkby Moor outside Ulverston at 12.20pm on Monday.

It took more than two hours to put out the fire which fire bosses said put the lives of firefighters, the public and animals at risk.

Watch Manager Simon Rodger, who supervised the incident, said: “The fire span across the moorland for approximately one hector - burning bracken, heather grass and gorse.

“We believe the fire was deliberately ignited.

“We used teams kitted out with beaters and water back packs to extinguish the fire. This is a very time consuming and arduous task which can be dangerous not only for our firefighters, but also for members of the public and the wildlife.”

As the coronavirus pandemic continues to claim lives and put the NHS under increasing pressure, firefighters have told landowners not to carry out any controlled burning.

Station Manager Paul Milburn said: “These fires can generate a lot of public interest and result in numerous calls to the fire service by concerned members of the public.

“This is creating a drain on our resources and due to the current national emergency we need to minimise the requests for assistance that can be prevented.

“We recognise that there will be a desire to take advantage of good conditions to undertake burning.

“If you feel that the burns are essential, make you have sufficient personnel and resources to control and extinguish the burn safely. Also inform us so we can decide if our fire engines are required. However we strongly urge landowners to not to have any fires.

“Whilst conditions may be good for burning they could also be supportive of very large wildfires. It is vitally important, during these challenging and unprecedented times that we all take proactive and responsible steps to reduce the likelihood of wildfires starting and support Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service.”