FIREMEN have called the Winter Hill wildfire a once in a life time blaze, but warned that we might see more ferocious fires in the future.

The heroes who fought the flames were invited to speak about their experiences and the lessons learned by the Over Hulton Community Group to an Atherton pub last week.

Leading the presentation at the Atherton Arms on Tyldesley Road was Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service’s wildfire lead officer Ady Taylor.

Boasting 22 years in the fire service, station manager Taylor covers Bolton North and Horwich and was among the first responders to the fire.

The audience heard how the fire broke out on June 28, 2018 and burned for 41 days, demanding contributions from helicopter teams, drones and the military to get under control.

He said: “It was like something out of Apocalypse Now.

“It’s the worst wildfire I’ve ever been on. I don’t ever think we’ll see it again.”

Officer Taylor was followed by group manager Shaun Walton, who explained the operation carried out by Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service. Although crews were suffering intense fatigue from the high temperatures, he said: “I wish I could bottle what we had up there.

"Thinking what a good job we were doing — it was a high.”

Both firemen thanked the public of Bolton for coming out in droves to donate vital supplies to fire stations in the area, including water, food, sun cream and insect repellent.

The Bolton Mountain Rescue team also came along to talk through their part in the efforts. The volunteers were called upon to deliver supplies up to the fire fighters on the hill and protected the perimeter established from any wandering pedestrians who were found dangerously attempting to get a look at the raging fire.

Through tickets and donations, the evening raised £250 for Bolton Mountain Rescue and The Fire Fighters Charity.

The community group then matched the funds to make a grand total of £500.

The chairman of the community group, John Bullen, said: “I urge any group who organise talks for their members to book this talk whilst the trauma of last summer is still fresh in everyone’s minds.

The whole subject is riveting and all the money goes to such deserving causes.”