Army And Fire Crews Battle 'Challenging Circumstances' On Saddleworth Moor

Around 100 soldiers from the Royal Regiment of Scotland have had their initial 48-hour deployment extended as the fires continue to burn.

Cover gallery: soldiers from The Highlanders, 4th Battalion, Royal Regiment of Scotland, have been working with the firefighters to bring the fire under control (Pictures: Ministry of Defence).

Soldiers helping firefighters battle a wildfire on Saddleworth Moor in Greater Manchester have been asked to stay until at least Friday. 

A major operation is underway to fight the moorland fires across Lancashire, with 36 fire engines, more than 100 firefighters and 100 soldiers battling the blazes for the second week.

Across the region to the north west of Manchester, near Bolton, another massive tract of open land on Winter Hill is now ablaze.

A 22-year-old man who was arrested on suspicion of starting the fire has been released under investigation.

Fire chiefs have described the "apocalyptic" fires on Saddleworth Moor and Winter Hill as unprecedented in their scale.

Around 100 soldiers from the Royal Regiment of Scotland, who were scrambled to help out last week, have had their initial 48-hour deployment extended as the fires continue to burn. 

On Monday morning, Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service (GMFRS) had 12 fire crews at the Tameside fires and 10 at Winter Hill, where Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service had a further 14 fire engines on the scene, along with two from Tyne and Wear.

As well as firefighting in the heatwave, battling smoke and flames, crews have been hampered by members of the public blocking the narrow moorland access roads to visit the scene to take photos.

Others have been leaving their vehicles to tramp over moorland to get footage by flying drones.

Assistant county fire officer Dave Keelan, of GMFRS, said: "Crews are working in extremely difficult and challenging circumstances.

"It's not just the weather that's difficult but also the geography of the site - getting the equipment, the firefighters and the water up to where the firefighters are is really challenging.

"But I can't praise crews enough - they've done a fantastic job and are working so hard.”

He urged the public to be really careful with discarded cigarettes and glass bottles so that more wildlife and natural beauty is not destroyed.