Homes evacuated as Saddleworth Moor fire declared a 'major incident'

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A huge moorland fire has forced people to spend the night away from their homes - as the Greater Manchester blaze continues to spread.

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

Fires on Saddleworth Moor overnight

Fires on Saddleworth Moor overnight

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, 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."

Fires on Saddleworth Moor on Tuesday night

Fires on Saddleworth Moor on Tuesday night

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.

"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."

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."

*Drone footage of the fire on Saddleworth Moor by Kyle Jack Davies‏.