FIREFIGHTERS have saved a Cetti's Warbler - one of the rarest
birds in the UK after a grass fire in Wigan.
The bird was moments away from disaster when the fire stopped
just metres short of its nesting site.
Crews from Wigan Fire Station were called to the fire in reed
beds at Wigan Flashes on Monday April 8.
Chair of Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Authority, Cllr
David Acton, said: "We have been called to hundreds of grass fires
this week many of which have been started deliberately.
"They can have a devastating impact on the environment, but on
this occasion the quick actions of our firefighters ensured this
bird - one of only 500 in the UK - survived."
Crew Manager Simon Connor was in charge of tackling the blaze at
He said: "The fire was in an area of special scientific interest
and was quite a way from where we were actually called to.
"We made our way to it on foot and when we got there it was
burning quite ferociously in the reed beds and we started to tackle
it with beaters.
"We managed to stop the fire just before it reached a tree and
Mark from the Wildlife Trust told us an extremely rare bird was
nesting there and we had saved it.
"Apparently it was the first time he's seen it too. We thought
it was just another grass fire, so we were really pleased when we
found out we had saved such an important bird."
Mark Champion from the Lancashire Wildlife Trust was on the
scene assisting firefighters when he spotted the bird.
He said: "Although we know that Cetti's have used the reedbeds
and scrub last year we had not heard it this year.
"It was a total a surprise. While we were assisting the fire
brigade at the scene of the grass fire, the Cetti's song exploded
from the bush less than two metres from where the fire had been
"It was like a scene from the 1970s series Thunderbirds with the
Cetti's being saved at the last moment!
"The firefighters stopped the fire spreading further into the
reserve and made sure that this rare bird will continue to visit
To see a gallery explaining how firefighters tackle grass fires
visit our Facebook site www.facebook.com/manchesterfire
For a video of the Cetti's Warbler please visit http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jn3_NKp32dE