Greater Manchester area fire rages on, army deployed

Access to the comments Comments
By Cristina Abellan Matamoros  with REUTERS
Greater Manchester area fire rages on, army deployed

Soldiers have been deployed to help the Manchester fire brigade tackle the blaze that’s been raging over Saddleworth Moor in north west England since Sunday evening.

British army troops will operate high-volume pumps and help move firefighters across the moor, said Greater Manchester assistant chief fire officer Dave Keelan.

An RAF helicopter was also deployed to assist the firefighters on Thursday.

The fire was declared a “major incident” by Greater Manchester Police.

Derbyshire Fire and Rescue’s Bob Curry said the fires were “some of the most challenging” the service had tackled in recent years.

More than 30 homes were evacuated but people were allowed back in their homes on Wednesday and told to stay inside.

"There's still a lot of smoke from the fire but air quality levels are being monitored regularly in different locations. Air quality is currently at a safe level and therefore residents have been let back into their homes," Keelan said.

Local MP Jonathan Reynolds tweeted saying the fire was “genuinely frightening” and sent well wishes to those who were evacuated from their homes. Reynolds was quoted on TalkRadio as saying the fires were the “worst in living memory.”

Like the rest of the UK, the area has experienced hot weather in recent days and forecasters expect temperatures to remain high for the rest of the week.

The cause of the blaze has yet to be determined.