'˜Wildfire' near Manchester sees major incident declared

A huge moorland fire has forced people to spend the night away from their homes - as the Greater Manchester blaze continues to spread.
The fire on Saddleworth Moor. Picture: PAThe fire on Saddleworth Moor. Picture: PA
The fire on Saddleworth Moor. Picture: PA

The police have declared the Saddleworth Moor fire a “major incident” and said the Army is on standby to step in.

On Tuesday, people in the Calico Crescent area of Carrbrook, in Stalybridge, Greater Manchester, were advised to leave their properties as firefighters battled flames nearby.

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The blaze, which has now been declared a major incident, started on Sunday and reignited the next day amid Britain’s heatwave and has devastated land around Carrbrook.

Greater Manchester Police said 34 homes have been evacuated so far as strong winds drive the flames closer to residential areas.

The force tweeted: “We are in contact with the Army and they are on standby to help if we need them.”

Images posted on social media showed bright orange flames lighting the night sky, while smoke from the fire can be seen for miles.

No injuries have been reported as a result of the fire, but people living nearby have been advised to keep windows and doors closed by Public Health England.

Tameside Council said that two schools - Mossley Hollins High and Buckton Vale Primary - will be closed due to the ongoing fire.

Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service group manager for Tameside, Phil Nelson, said: “Crews are still tackling this difficult fire and are working hard to contain the blaze and prevent further fire spread.

“Firefighters are faced with very difficult circumstances, intense heat and are working on challenging terrain.

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“Our main considerations are for crew welfare. It is physically draining working at this incident and it is vital that our firefighters have regular breaks and that relief crews are available to take over.”

Meanwhile the mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham thanked fire crews.

He tweeted: “Huge thanks to the GM firefighters working flat out to contain this worrying situation.”