Another fire near Manchester as army hits Saddleworth

Firefighters have been called to a grass fire on Winter Hill, just around 50km (30m) from the large blaze on Saddleworth Moor.

Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service said that the new fire, along with those on the moor, meant they were “massively busy”.

Initially fire crews were sent from Greater Manchester and Lancashire but after some time, Manchester was able to pull its firefighters back.By Thursday evening, there were 15 fire engines and as many as 80 firefighters from Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service at the fire.

The fire service said there was no immediate risk to livestock, domestic properties or infrastructure but that nearby residents should keep windows and doors closed if they are close to the smoke.Meanwhile, firefighters are optimistic that they can beat the raging wildfires on Saddleworth Moor, hailing “significant improvement”.

About 100 soldiers from A Company of the 4th Battalion, Royal Regiment of Scotland, joined the firefighting effort.They are working alongside more than 100 firefighters, many of whom have been battling the blaze since Sunday.

The crews, along with 10 fire engines, specialist vehicles, helicopters, mountain rescue and army trucks, are based at Swineshaw Reservoir, Stalybridge.Around 40 homes were evacuated on Tuesday as the fire stretched over seven square miles, covering much of the Greater Manchester area in smoke and ash.

Tony Hunter, assistant chief fire officer of Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service, said: “We have made significant improvements but I would put an air of caution there though – we had a similar occasion yesterday where we thought we were on top of it and it flared up.”Although it is now “contained and under control”, there was the possibility that the wind could blow the flames back on to the moors, acting as a “fuel source” for the fire, he added.

The army has been deployed initially for 48 hours and an RAF Chinook helicopter could be called in from Odiham, Hampshire, if needed.

Major Phil Morgan, who is commanding the soldiers, said: “We meet every challenge and commit 100% in what we do.

“Currently we have broken our boys down into various locations and we are beating the fire with paddles and we are supporting them by moving equipment, we are putting water on the fires and we are doing everything we can to stop this fire at the moment.

“We are truly really happy and excited to be here and the boys are cherishing every moment of it.”The fire could last for weeks before it burns itself out, fire chiefs have said, although a “significant downpour of rain” would help, Mr Hunter said.

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