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Firefighters are tackling a huge fire that is currently raging on the moorland above Dovestone Reservoir at the foot of Saddleworth Moor between Holme and Greenfield.

Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service say they were called to reports of a fire in the open above the reservoir at around 2.40pm.

Two helicopters from Oldham Mountain Rescue are assisting firefighters from five stations across Lancashire as they try to tackle a blaze which is around 2km x 2km.

The helicopters have been captured on video alternately pouring gallons of water on to fire before returning to refill.

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Firefighters have warned people to stay away from the area for their safety as gigantic plumes of smoke rise into the sky.

Temperatures in the area hit 26°C today as the UK experience its hottest day of the year so far and the hottest April day for almost 70 years.

You can read our round-up here.

"The worst is over"

A well earned rest

Fire is all but out now

Incredible video

Vincent Cole, MEN photographer, has put together this video showing the devastating effects of the fire and efforts by firefighters, mountain rescue and beaters to tackle it.

Two smaller fires combined

The Manchester Evening News have been told by the fire service that the fire has grown to 2km x 2km after two separate fires combined. Efforts to put it out continue.

"20 vehicles in attendance including 11 fire engines"

That’s more than double the number that were there two hours ago. We are also hearing that around 80 firefighters are involved in the attempts to quell the fire.

Fire spread to 4 square km

Latest update from Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service: “Crews remain at the moorland fire which has now spread to roughly 2km x 2km. Elevent fire engines are currently in attendance along with various specialist vehicles.

“The fire is being fought from two sectors, one on each of its flanks as firefighters use specialist equipment such as air firefighting units to extinguish it.

“Crews are being supported by mountain rescue teams and United Utilities helicopters to help bring it under control.

Please avoid the area around Dovestones Reservoir while we tackle the fire and keep windows and doors shut if you live nearby.”

More firefighters attending the scene

Incredible images of firefighters in the thick of it

This amazing photo from MEN photographer Vincent Cole shows firefighters battling in the heart of the blaze.

Firefighter tackle the moorland blaze at the foot of Saddleworth Moor. Photo: Vincent Cole MEN
Firefighter tackle the moorland blaze at the foot of Saddleworth Moor. Photo: Vincent Cole MEN

View from the air

The view from the air is pretty astounding.

Dom Goggins, a passenger of a plane that flew over the scene recently had this to say: “Just flew over this about 20 mins on the way back from Amsterdam. Looked pretty dramatic even from that high up, felt like the smoke reached all the way up to the plane.”

And this photo was tweeted by @CaptFlameRate from a plane just a short time ago:

@CaptFlameRate
@CaptFlameRate

Smoke covers the sky

Huge plumes of smoke rise from the still burning moorland fire as fire crews battle to put it out.

Fire still burning

Eyewitness account from the original 999 caller

Ella Stacey, 27, who works at nearby business Another Way Associates, was among the first to see the blaze develop and rang 999. She told the Manchester Evening News how the blaze spread very quickly:

“It was right next to the path, which was really busy. When I first saw it the fire was the size of a few cars, a few minutes later it was the size of a football pitch.

“Five minutes after that and it was very, very big. What was scary is it was so close to the picnic area, you could hear it crackling.

“There are loads of fires here, every couple of weeks, locals think young people are starting them either deliberately or accidentally with cigarettes and barbecues.”

Firefighters say stay away

Location of fire

This is the exact location of the fire, next to Dovestone Reservoir, at the foot of Saddleworth Moor between Holme and Greenfield. Smoke can be seen for much further away though.

The location of the moorland fire
The location of the moorland fire

Huge scorch marks on the moor

Moorland fire at the foot of Saddleworth Moor. Photo: Matthew Lee Tierney
Moorland fire at the foot of Saddleworth Moor. Photo: Matthew Lee Tierney
Moorland fire at the foot of Saddleworth Moor. Photo: Matthew Lee Tierney
Moorland fire at the foot of Saddleworth Moor. Photo: Matthew Lee Tierney

Statement from fire service

Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service released this statement earlier:

“At 2:39pm Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service were called to reports of a fire in the open at Dovestones Reservoir, Bank Lane, Greenfield.

Six fire engines from Bury, Hollins, Chadderton, Mossley, Marple and Heywood along with three wildfire units are currently in attendance.

Two helicopters from Oldham Mountain Rescue are assisting firefighters.

Firefighters are using forced air firefighting units and other specialist equipment to extinguish the fire which is 800m x 800m.

Please avoid the area around Bank Lane while we tackle the fire and keep windows and doors shut if you live nearby.”