A huge fire the size of six football pitches on the hills around Thirlmere reservoir is believed to have been started accidentally by wild campers.

Firefighters spent most of the last two days battling the wildfire with crews from across the county called upon to stop the blaze becoming a disaster zone.

After a full day’s work on Sunday the crews, totalling 18 fire officers, returned to finish the job off at about 8am yesterday morning.

Barring any unforeseen circumstances the regular teams and specialist wildfire crews were due to leave the scene at the remote Raven Crag last night.

“We continued to dampen down the hot spots from the top of the cragg,” said Brian Steadman, from Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service, who was a tactical advisor for the crews.

“The problems that we have had is the location and its remoteness.”

With tough terrain the crews have been supported by United Utilities, who manage the reservoir, and their helicopter.

In total 105 tonnes of water were dropped from the helicopter as the emergency teams battled to stop the fire from spreading further.

The fire service believe the blaze was started by people wild camping in that area with a camp fire accidentally getting out of hand.

Cumbria Police was notified about the incident but confirmed the matter was not being investigated.

A spokesman for the Environment Agency said the organisation was concerned about the water run-off contaminating nearby rivers and the lake and that agency officers were monitoring the situation.

Mr Steadman said the priority had been on getting the fire put out, but because it was a considerable distance from the reservoir he didn’t believe there was any risk.

The fire service over the last few weeks has continuously pleaded with members of the public to be extra vigilant about the potential for grass fires to start more easily because of the heatwave and dryness of the ground.

With the latest high-profile incident senior officers are renewing their appeal for people to be sensible.

“We are not trying to be spoilsports but we have had somebody die in a quarry and possibly a major fire costing thousands of pounds tying up major resources because of carelessness,” added Mr Steadman.

“Our crews have done a terrific job, most of them have been out at Winter Hill supporting the efforts of Manchester and Lancashire crews and it’s a massive strain on our resources but also on the individuals and their families.

“The crews have, as always, performed brilliantly and they just crack on with a smile.”

VIDEO: Cockermouth Fire Station.