RESIDENTS have rallied together to patrol a site where a series of devastating grass fires have broke out.

The Trees estate in Leigh has been ravaged by blazes in the last two weeks with high temperatures making it more susceptible for fires to start on dry grass and reports of people starting them deliberately.

With Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service stretched by the two large wildfires at Saddleworth Moor in Tameside and Winter Hill near Bolton, resources have been scarce and pushed back response times for firefighters to attend other incidents.

Drone video footage courtesy of Thomas Carter-Bailey which shows land behind Willow Crescent in Leigh on Wednesday after five fires in three days at the site

Resident Angie Carter-Bailey, who has lived in the area for 17 years, said: "When a fire has broke out we have used a hosepipe from one of the neighbour's gardens close to the field and made a wet barrier until the fire brigade turned up.

"We made sure we was at a safe distance away from the fire and put wet tea towels on our faces to protect ourselves.

"There were five fires in the space of three days from last weekend to Tuesday but luckily none of them reached the houses even though there are many that back on to the woodland.

"Our houses still stink of smoke from the fires and we had to keep out windows closed at the time.

"We are very concerned in case other ones start up.

"There have been a group of us patrolling the area and trying to make sure there is no discarded rubbish or barbecues that could start other fires.

"There are still smouldering hot spots after the fires and we have been making sure children avoid playing there to stop them from burning themselves."

Angie met with The Westleigh Wombles, volunteers who carry out duties in the community such as litter-picking, Atherleigh ward councillors, PCSOs and Wigan Council officers on Tuesday to discuss ways in which further fires can be avoided.

She also shown drone footage her son Thomas filmed behind Willow Crescent which shows the damage caused to the open land and how close it has come to the houses.

One area of concern is overgrown brambles in the area which could act as fuel for flames.

An idea has been put forward to cut the brambles back and to add a fire break to add a safety net for residents.

This would have to be done by heavy machinery and the impact on wildlife needs to be taken into consideration.

Angie joined the Westleigh Wombles at the back of Willow Crescent where they collected 12 bags of rubbish which contained objects like glass bottles that could spark off a fire in the heat.

Mum-of-four Angie added: "The community is pulling together and we are hoping more people will get on board with us.

"Some people might be able to spend a bit of time each evening while it is nice in the summer collecting rubbish or even while they are out walking their dog.

"Myself and The Westleigh Wombles have also been putting posts on social media asking people to be more vigilant such as not leaving rubbish which could set off other fires.

"If we can make the brambles tidier then we will be able to keep on top of it too.

"There are a lot of residents who are passionate about this and it would be nice to hear other people's opinions.

"Although the area is badly affected by the fires, it is possible to visualise the lush green grass that will grow back later in the year and we might be able to do things like put wild flower seeds down to improve it.

"It is a great place for families to go and it has a nice flat cycling route so it is important to make the most of that.

"In the meantime we will carry on patrolling the area and keep on the lookout for any other fires."

For more information about the community work being done or to get involved contact the Westleigh Residents Association Facebook page.