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Fire chiefs battling a huge moorland blaze admitted they would consider asking for military support as they evacuated families from the path of the encroaching fire.

34 homes were evacuated in Stalybridge as high winds and higher temperatures spread the fire to within 200 metres of properties.

Last night, at 10.40pm, Greater Manchester Police declared the fire was a major incident and described it as ‘one of the biggest in living memory’.

Leon Parkes, assistant chief fire officer with Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service, said they would consider military support today if the fire could not be fought back.

He said: "We’ve got over 6km of affected area - there is fire occurring in pockets around the outskirts.

"The plan today is to try and really really put some resource on the scene, and put a heavy attack on this fire - if that needs military assistance, that’s what we’ll consider.”

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Everything that happened today

Here’s a round up of today’s events surrounding the fire.

Let’s all spare a thought for the brave emergency services workers up there battling with the raging flames.

Firefighter update

Dave Keelan, director of emergency response at the fire service, says fire crews are working extremely hard. Conditions can change in seconds.

He says tactics are being drawn up to consider homes backing onto the moors tonight. Staff and firefighters are likely to be deployed there.

Air samples will continue to be monitored regularly and Mr Keelan says firefighters are keen to be up on the moors to bring the fires under control.

He says it’s difficult to get them to rest.

Pictures show scale of blaze

Calderdale council has issued some advice.

Fire can be seen from space

Army chinooks reported over Golcar

Facebook users are reporting seeing army chinooks above the Golcar area

Smoke has travelled 60km

Smoke from the fire on Saddleworth Moor has reached Ormskirk, 60km away
Smoke from the fire on Saddleworth Moor has reached Ormskirk, 60km away

Army drafted in

The army has been called in to fight the fire, the Mirror is reporting.

Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service’s Assistant Chief Fire Officer, Dave Keelan, said:

We have been liaising with a military adviser on the scene and following those discussions we have requested military assistance from the Ministry of Defence.

There’s still a lot of smoke from the fire but air quality levels are being monitored regularly in different locations. Air quality is currently at a safe level and therefore residents have been let back into their homes.

Firefighters called to Huddersfield grassland TEN times in last month

Huddersfield firefighters say they have been called to an area of grassland, close to properties and a school, ten times in the last month.

Crew Commander Root, from Huddersfield Fire Station, said that Longwood Edge has become a favourite spot for people having barbecues and they are not always conducted safely.

He warned this could lead to a disaster on a similar scale to the Saddleworth Moor fire:

There are suspicions of people behaving carelessly. There is lots of evidence of people drinking and having barbecues up there.

In this weather it is very irresponsible. Even green grass is setting alight and it wouldn’t take much for one of these times to potentially lead to something on the scale they’re fighting over in Manchester.

A 2017 grass fire at Longwood Edge
A 2017 grass fire at Longwood Edge

Wildfire warning

In light of the blaze, countryside authority the CLA have warned the public about the risks of starting fires in rural areas.

People are being warned to take extra care when using disposable barbeques and to never dispose of cigarette butts in open grass. Another risk associated with starting wildfires is litter - with disposed glass capable of starting fires in intense heat due to the refraction of light.

CLA Director Dorothy Fairburn, said: “We have witnessed the devastating impacts of the fire at Saddleworth Moor, both on communities in the area, as well as scarring the landscape and destroying wildlife, and we appeal to the public to be extra vigilant when out and about in the countryside.”

Fire - Saddleworth Moors 26 June 2018 Pic Dominic Salter

WATCH: Timelapse footage

Check out this incredible timelapse footage of the fire:

Crew from Holmfirth attending the fire

Map of affected area

The satellite map below shows the area the blaze is affecting. It’s thought the fire measures roughly 3.7m².

Map of area of Saddleworth Moor affected by the fire
Map of area of Saddleworth Moor affected by the fire

WATCH: Smoke rises from the moors

Watch this shocking video taken from the edge of the fire.

Respect for our firefighters

Residents resorting to gasmasks

One local resident has been photographed wearing a GASMASK to avoid breathing in the fumes.

The latest tweets

You can see all the latest tweets on the ongoing blaze below:

https://twitter.com/i/moments/1011878191064125441

More than 50 firefighters are at the scene and crews from Derbyshire Fire and Rescue from Tintwhistle have also been drafted in to help.

MP describes fire scene as 'apocalypse'

The MP for Stalybridge has told reporters that the scene up on Saddleworth Moor is like an apocalypse.

Labour MP Jonathan Reynolds told TalkRadio this morning that the flames can bee seen for miles, and that smoke has seeped down into the local community.

He said:

You can see the flames not just from Stalybridge but from many parts of Greater Manchester.

It’s almost like an apocalyptic scene, because of the nature of the landscape and the scale of the fire.

The smoke in the town itself is quite unbelievable.

We have had this before, fires on the moors, particularly in summer it does happen. But nothing on this scale.

Usually it happens that they burn out and the service are used to dealing with them.

But this is particularly frightening for people and we’ve had to evacuate people in one part of Stalybridge.

They were right next to it, it’s hard to describe just how close it got.

Smoke levels safe

Earth samples have been taken to test the smoke levels in the area. They have revealed the levels to be safe.

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.

Leon Parkes, assistant chief fire officer with Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service
Leon Parkes, assistant chief fire officer with Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service