A grass fire has broken out near the railway line in Helsby causing major disruption to the village and the neighbouring town of Frodsham.
Rail passenger Robin Miller-Stott has tweeted dramatic video footage of the fire spreading next to the line.
And the blaze is believed to have brought major disruption to power supplies in both communities, affecting libraries, traffic lights and Helsby High School.
We will be bringing you updates as the story unfolds.
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Some train services are still facing disruption but by and large the problems caused by the grass fire in Helsby this afternoon have now eased so we are bringing our live coverage of the incident to a close. Thank you for following our updates throughout the afternoon.
Three pylons affected by fire
Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service has discovered three pylons affected by grass fire at Helsby - with one ‘badly damaged’.
The fire is believed to have been the cause of the power cut in the Helsby, Frodsham, Elton and Ellesmere Port areas earlier. The electricity supply has since been restored.Crews are using two main jets to extinguish the blaze.
The National Rail Enquiries online journey planner indicates rail services using the fire-affected line between Chester and Helsby are getting back to normal.There have been some cancellations and delays this afternoon but the 16.20 from Chester and Warrington was on time with subsequent services in that direction also on schedule.Heading the other way, the 16.28 from Warrington Bank Quay to Chester was cancelled but the same service exactly one hour later is currently on time. Subsequent services also appear to be on schedule except the 17.46, which has also been cancelled. For more the latest information, visit: www.nationalrail.co.uk
Firefighters are currently dealing with a fire in a wheat field on Hall Lane in Cronton, Widnes.
On arrival the crew discovered the fire involved half a dozen hotspots in the field, which previously contained grass.
An area measuring approximately 14 metres by three metres was smouldering with hotspots.
Firefighters, who were alerted just before 3pm, are currently using beaters to extinguish the fire.
Team work from fire service
Crews are currently in attendance at a large grass fire in Helsby with colleagues from @NorthwichFS and @RuncornFS This is effecting wooden electricity pylons in the area. Crews working hard in high temperatures to bring fire under control. pic.twitter.com/iBB94ZBkVp— Middlewich Fire Station (@MiddlewichFS) July 2, 2018
Power should be restored
Scottish Power reckons the electricity should be back on in the Frodsham area in response to an enquiry from concerned farmer Guy Ford.Mr Ford tweeted “What time is it going to be restored? We have cows that urgently need water no power means no water.”The power company responded: “All should be back on, sorry about the power cut earlier.”
Scottish Power has apologised for the power cut in Frodsham/Helsby/Ellesmere Port areas this afternoon.
The company says electricity was restored to a ‘large number of homes’ by diverting power to healthy cables. It is believed the power cut was related to a large grass fire in the Helsby area.
The power company is continuing to work to restore everyone as quickly as possible and had hoped everyone would be back on by 3.45pm if not sooner
Yet another grass fire
Fire crews have been dealing with a grassland fire measuring approximately four metres by four metres on Hooleyhey Lane in Macclesfield.
They are using water and beaters to fight the fire.
By 3pm firefighters were making good progress in extinguishing the blaze. They are damping the area down.
Grass fire problems
Meanwhile....firefighters are dealing with grass fires across the county including one by Eccleston Ferry near Chester.
A fire engine from Nantwich responded to a report of the fire on Paddock Road about 2pm.
On arrival, the crew discovered a fire involving grass near to Eccleston Ferry. Firefighters extinguished the fire using water.
Rail services affected
Travel website Inrix is reporting that rail services are at a stand on Arriva Trains Wales between Warrington Bank Quay and Chester due to the line-side fire.
Travel website Inrix is reporting severe delays and queueing traffic due to an earlier vehicle fire on M56 eastbound betweenJ14 A5117 (Hapsford)andJ12 A557 (Runcorn), congestion on M56 to A5117 / A494. All lanes have been re-opened. Travel time is 1 hour and 15 minutes.
Fire crews had been called to the vehicle fire when they had to deal with a nearby crop field around the same time.
Power has now been restored at the glass bottling plant and back-up generators are no longer required to cool the furnaces.
Fire crews are expected to remain at the site for around 20 minutes to monitor the furnaces as they continue to be cooled.
Bottling plant problems
A power cut in the Elton-Frodsham-Helsby area led to overheated furnaces at a glass bottling plant.Encirc Beverages on Ash Road, Elton, had to shut down two furnaces of molten glass operating at high temperatures.
Back-up generators were used to cool the furnaces.
Fire crews established a water supply and were standing by as a precaution.
They were monitoring the furnaces with a thermal imaging camera, checking for hotspots.
Resident's power back on
Janet Richmond, of Robin Hood Lane, Helsby, says the power is now back on after it went off earlier, believed to be linked to the fire.
Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service is investigating smoke coming from a wooded area near Sherwood Grove, Helsby. Three fire engines are believed to be at the scene.
Scottish Power engineers have also been on site.
Janet can still see smoke coming from the general area but says it’s not as serious as earlier.
Traffic on the M56
Chris Ellams has sent us this picture of traffic on the M56.
Good news from the M56
The grass fire near the railway still seems to be causing problems but the M56 vehicle fire now seems to be sorted.
Grass on fire
Abigail Byrne emailed us this picture and message: “Wild bush fire just beside the train track on my way to chester in between frodsham and helsby station, an electric pylon was on fire, lots of smoke filled the train, quite scary, train had to slow down as going past, we were all stood at the windows in shock.”
Fire engines' location
Elaine Pollit has just messaged us: “3 fire engines now down Freshmeadow lane!”
Fire engines in attendance
Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service confirm two fire engines are in attendance, one from Middlewich and one from Runcorn.
Latest from Cheshire fire service
Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service says it is investigating reports of a large plume of smoke coming from a wooded area in Helsby. Firefighters are currently on foot near Sherwood Grove, according to the website.
Scottish Power is in attendance at a nearby substation because homes and businesses are without electricity, which appears to be linked to the blaze.
Message to parents
Due to the current power cut, we are advising that parents make arrangements to have their children collected as soon as possible. Thank you in advance.— St. Luke's Frodsham (@stlukesfrodsham) July 2, 2018
Confusion over fires
There seems to be some confusion over whether or not the Helsby grass fire is now under control or actually getting worse. This confusion may be due to the fact the fire service has also been dealing with a vehicle fire on the M56 and a separate grass fire in the Warrington area.
Traffic light failure
Live traffic site Inrix is reporting: Heavy traffic due to traffic light failure on A56 High Street in both directions at B5152 Church Street.
Due to a power cut in the area, traffic lights are being affected.
Janet Richmond, of Robin Hood Lane, Helsby, believes the fire on grassland near Helsby is now under control based on what she can see from her home.
She says the situation has ‘died down’ and ‘looks significantly different’ to how it appeared earlier. She said steam appeared to have replaced smoke suggested Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service were on top of the situation although it was too far away to spot any fire appliances.
Another video of the fire
It’s proving to be a busy afternoon for Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service
Firefighters are currently dealing with a large fire on a field on Slutchers Lane, Warrington. Due to its close proximity to a railway track, the West Coast Main Line going into Warrington has been closed as crews work at the scene. They are expected to be there for another hour.— Cheshire Fire (@CheshireFire) July 2, 2018
...so does another!
Frodsham library is temporarily closed due to a power outage in the Frodsham area.— CWAC Libraries (@cwaclibraries) July 2, 2018
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