Army called in to help tackle Saddleworth Moor fire

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Fire chiefs have called in the military to move high-volume pump equipment by air to help douse quicker a vast moorland blaze which has raged for days.

More than 100 Greater Manchester firefighters continue to tackle seven pockets of fire in an area spanning up to 6km across Tameside.

Problems faced by the crews included frequent changes in wind direction, the peat-embedded terrain which requires large quantites of water to extinguish flames and the searing temperatures.

An RAF Chinook helicopter is likely to be deployed to provide the military with the assistance requested, said Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service (GMFRS).

Dave Keelan, director of emergency response at GMFRS, said: "The request is to assist us to move some high volume pumps by air to locations that we couldn't get them to with vehicles, and also the ability to transport personnel to those more remote areas so we can get there quicker with more people with the water supplies we hope to put in place to try and resolve the incident in a quicker nature.

"We are still in detailed discussions with the miitary over the logisitical element of it. They will obviously move as quick as they can to get resources here."


Thanks for your continued support as our crews tackle the #moorlandfires

Please be aware that due to the smoke being visible across
Greater Manchester @NW_Fire_Control are receiving a huge amount of calls from the public.

Please only call if it’s an emergency

— Manchester Fire (@manchesterfire) June 27, 2018


He said transporting two of the high volume pumps to remote locations would give his crews an "excellent quantity of water with a nice main across a big area that we can tap into".

Mr Keelan said firefighters were working "extremely hard in really hot conditions" but morale was high as he said: "It's more of a task to get them down here to rest."

As of Wednesday lunchtime there were seven separate fire incidents ongoing on areas of the moors, including Calico Crescent, Intake Cottage, Intake Lane, Caste Farm, Dovestones, Higher Swineshaw and Chew Road.

Firefighters on a total of 29 fire engines from Greater Manchester and neighbouring fire and rescue services used beaters and specialist wildfire equipment to tackle the flames.

In addition, Greater Manchester Police deployed a helicopter to assess the scene and United Utilities provided a helicopter that can be used to drop water onto remote areas.

The blaze, on the edge of Saddleworth Moor, started on Sunday and was brought under control but it reignited the next day and has continued in one of the worst moorland fires to hit the region.

The impact of the blaze could even be seen from space as Nasa satellites picked up the plumes of smoke.