Drone owners have been told to stop flying their devices over an enormous moorland fire – to avoid a potential collision with helicopters being used to help fight the blaze.
Lancashire Fire Service said three drones have been sighted hovering over the fire on Winter Hill, near Bolton, with users believed to be filming the inferno.
A spokesman said the fire service was worried about the risk of collisions with a police helicopter and with a helicopter owned by water firm United Utilities, which is dropping water on the blaze.
Posting a warning on social media, it wrote: 'Would all amateur drone users please steer clear of this area, it does hamper our extremely important work.'
Lancashire Fire Service said three drones have been sighted hovering over the fire on Winter Hill, near Bolton (pictured)
The spokesman said: 'Drone users have been contacted and it's been explained to them why they've not been asked to fly, where movement of helicopters might be hindered or endangered.'
Lancashire Police urged members of the public to stay away from the fire.
Officers said they had to deal with numerous incidents including people driving to the scene to record the incident on mobile phones, blocking access roads for emergency vehicles.
The warning came as the Winter Hill fire yesterday grew to the point it merged with another moorland fire off Scout Road to cover three square miles.
The blaze, which was declared a major incident, is expected to continue burning into the coming week.
Flames could be seen leaping 6ft in the air as they caught fresh vegetation, while other areas smouldered with acrid smoke.
Mike Sewell (picturee) and his wife Belinda bought a 200-year-old stone house three years ago. It came perilously close to being consumed by the fire, burning since Thursday
About 100 firefighters were at the scene, from Greater Manchester, Lancashire, and further afield including Humberside and Nottinghamshire, Northumberland, Cumbria and South Wales.
Another large moorland blaze at Tameside Moors, near Saddleworth, which last week came close to houses and led to the evacuation of up to 100 residents, has now been burning for a week.
It has been fought by 160 firefighters assisted by 160