Wigan dad on a mission to recoup moor fire cost

A Wigan dad with a passion for the outdoors is embarking on a fund-raiser to replace cash spent combatting this summer's moor fires.

Tuesday, 2nd October 2018, 10:07 am
Updated Tuesday, 2nd October 2018, 11:12 am
Michael Stevenson
Michael Stevenson

Michael Stevenson, from Orrell, is one of scores of people trying to boost the coffers of the Bolton Mountain Rescue, the team which had to burn through its funds while helping firefighters with the Winter Hill blaze, which raged this summer.

The volunteers paid a pivotal role in assisting fire crews at the scene in Rivington, but the operation took its toll, financially.

Vehicles were damaged and in need of repair, extra kit had to be used (and a lot of kit was destroyed) - all this in addition to the excess running costs needed to help the team going.

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The Winter Hill blaze was finally extinguished in early August after raging for 41 days. It was the second large moor fire to devastate the region over the summer, after Saddleworth Moor also caught fire in blistering conditions in June.

Michael, 39, who is an operational member of the Bolton Mountain Rescue team, was one of the volunteers who helped firefighters at the scene.

He said: “We were there to provide first aid cover to our emergency service colleagues, transported personnel and equipment in our specialist land rovers, acted as spotters to identify where flare ups were occurring in the different sectors.

“We were also able to support the fire fighting effort with transporting refreshments to the fire fighters, specialist mapping, local knowledge and by sealing off footpaths and gates.

He added: “Unfortunately the incident did take its toll on our equipment, with damaged windscreens and suspension systems costing £2000 in repairs.”

He will be taking part in the Winter Hill “Mast Blast” 10k event on October 21, which as well as raising money, will celebrate the Bolton Mountain Rescue’s 50th anniversary.

And Michael is no stranger to outdoor pursuits himself. Earlier this year, he was part of a three-man team to march across the frozen Lake Baikal in Siberia faster than anyone else in history.

He covered a distance of around 640km (397 miles) in 12 days, 21 hours and 13 minutes, finishing on Wednesday March 14 at 2.08am local time - all while enduring bone-chilling temperatures as low as -35c.

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