Saddleworth Moor fire: Wigan firefighters called into action
Fire crews from the borough are among the many helping tackle the huge Saddleworth Moor fire, after the blaze was declared a "major incident" and forced residents to flee their homes.
At least one crew from each of the borough's four stations - Wigan, Hindley, Atherton and Leigh - have been called to help tackle the flames of the huge moorland fire, which has been raging since Sunday.
The incident forced people to spend Tuesday night away from their homes - as the blaze continues to spread.
The air across Wigan borough had an all pervading smoky smell last night and the police declared the Saddleworth Moor fire a “major incident." As of this morning (June 27) there were a total of ten fire engines on the scene – including appliances from Greater Manchester and Derbyshire. There are multiple fires on the moorland, stretching an area of 6km. 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.
The blaze 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.
Speaking about the overnight operation to battle the Saddleworth Moor fire, Leon Parkes, assistant chief fire officer with Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service, told reporters: “Fire crews have been working in tremendously difficult conditions in the heat, smoke, working with our partner agencies.
“A number of actions were put in place including the evacuation of nearby houses because of the spread of the fire.
“We are doing an assessment on the scene this morning. We have 10 fire engines with 50 fire fighters.
“Some earth sampling was undertaken last night and the readings that have come back are showing safe levels.
“Our advice to members of the public is to close your windows and doors if you are experiencing smoke. Anybody on medication, continue to take that medication.
“The feedback in respect of the smoke is that they’re at safe levels.”
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.
Schools in the vicinity will close today as a precaution.
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.
“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.”