Fire service thanks community for support in moors blaze battle

BATTLING THE BLAZE: Firefighting teams use beaters to extinguish the flames.

Derbyshire Fire and Rescue Service has thanked people for supporting its firefighters tackling the moorland blazes.

The service says it has received a number of cash donations which will go to the Firefighters  Charity and a charity chosen by one of the partner organisations  working with them on the moors.

Donations of refreshments can be dropped off at Glossop Fire Station, Charlestown, between 9pm and 5pm Monday to Friday.

Derbyshire fire crews are tackling an area around a kilometre in size north of Arnfield Flats and south of Windgate Edge.

Officers and crews are working closely with partners from United Utilities, Peak Park Rangers, the RSPB and local game keepers to bring the incident to the quickest and safest conclusion.

Derbyshire Fire and Rescue Service say that since firefighting operations began, the fire has reduced in size, but crews continue to fight the fire and work continues in extremely challenging conditions.

Whilst at present there aren’t any visible flames on Arnfield Moor, the fire is still burning deep in the peat bogs that form the landscape.

Two helicopters have been brought in to assist with firefighting and water is being dropped to saturate the ground and also into strategically located portable dams, to prevent any further fire spread and to support ongoing firefighting operations.

Arnfield Moor fire, which is being dealt with by Derbyshire Fire & Rescue Service, is one of a number of moorland fires currently burning in close proximity to each other.

‘Major incident’

Firefighters from Glossop and as far away as  Bakewell had joined the crews from Greater Manchester Fire Service earlier this week, with other Derbyshire fire stations sending firefighters from Buxton, New Mills, Whaley Bridge and Bradwell.

They were joined by farmers and Peak District National Park Rangers as the flames swept across from Saddleworth moor towards Woodhead and Glossop.

Glossop Mountain Rescue Team quickly moved equipment and personnel to the Upper Swineshaw Reservoir at the side of Woodhead Road, Glossop, as flames were seen advancing over Arnfield Moor.

The blaze was declared a ‘major incident’ on Tuesday night after spreading across a 6km area.

Having originally taken hold near Buckton Vale on Sunday, the fire spread across a vast area to Dovestones and Tintwistle, fuelled by the tinder dry conditions.

Vast plumes of smoke which has darkened clear skies could be seen – and smelt – for many miles across Greater Manchester – and also across Glossopdale.

The fire started on Sunday, with fire crews called in at 8.20pm to extinguish it, something they achieved with help from local gamekeepers.

However, due to the heat the fire reignited early on Monday morning, and has since devastated a vast area of moorland.

Troops

Soldiers have arrived at the scene of the moorland fire in Saddleworth to support fire fighters in tackling the blaze.

Approximately 100 soldiers from the Royal Regiment of Scotland (4 SCOTS) will work closely with over 100 fire fighters throughout today, which will allow other resources across Greater Manchester to be freed up to deal with other emergency calls.

Operating out of a nearby Army Training Centre, the troops will assist the effort to control and reduce the fire, undertaking tasks such as the management of water lines, fire beating and providing general support where required.

Crews are continuing to make good progress in extinguishing the flames. There are currently six affected areas, stretching across seven miles but the fires are contained.

Assistant Chief Fire Officer, Tony Hunter said: “To have the support of the Armed Forces is extremely pleasing and I know that fire fighters will be very appreciative of their help in tackling the multiple fires we are dealing with.

“The RAF Chinook helicopter has been provided to us and is available as a resource if we need it. We will revise our tactical plan and assess the fires across the moorlands to see if and when it is appropriate to be used.

“We have not seen any indication of any rainfall, so this incident is likely to be prolonged for a number of days. The fire is contained at the moment, but we only need a change of wind direction to see the fire increase. We are working hard to keep on top of the blaze.

“I would like to thank local residents and businesses who have been very understanding and incredibly generous in their donations to our crews. We will continue to work closely with our partners, volunteers and the Armed Forces today, and we hope to make some more good progress.”

Residents at more than 30 homes in Carrbrook, Stalybridge, were evacuated as the moorland fire closed in on residential areas on Tuesday night with the thick smoke also causing problems.

Residents were advised to keep doors and windows closed.

A number of schools in the Mossley and Stalybridge areas were also forced to close on Tuesday but had re-opened today.

 

A helicopter helps drop water over Arnfield Moor.

Approximately 100 soldiers from the Royal Regiment of Scotland (4 SCOTS) are helping to tackle the blazes.