Saddleworth Moor fire described as “apocalyptic”

Reporter: Jon Chubb
Date published: 27 February 2019

They’ve described the blaze, which started at around 8pm last night (Tuesday 26th February) near Diggle as “apocalyptic” and likened it to the fire which devastated grassland in Tameside and burned for weeks last summer.

John Turner saw the blaze while returning home from a night out with friends: “You know tangerine peel, it’s like the sky has that been reflected onto it that’s the best way of describing it. On the hill we’re all on laybys and stuff, just pulled over, and everyone was saying ‘oh it looks like the end of the world, it looks like the apocalypse has happened.”

Pictures courtesy of John Turner

Around 40 firefighters are understood to be tackling the blaze using a combination of beaters and blowers to try and control the situation with Revolution News understanding a helicopter is on stand-by should it be needed to drop water on the grassland.

“It was just a massive ring that went zigzagging up and down the hill and all around in a circle to create one big loop. It’s like the sky is on fire almost because the smoke reflects it back down to you.” Mr Turner added.

Picture courtesy of John Turner

Members of West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service are tackling the fire, which is thought to cover around 1.5 square kilometres, but their efforts are being hampered by the remote location of the fire.

Sky News Reporter Mike McCarthy is at the scene: “That fire is some way in the distance, there are no roads or even tracks out there, it would be impossible to get water out there unless they manage to sort of drop it by air.”

Tony Pearson, from West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Services gave an update on how his crews are trying to bring it under control: “Access is really difficult, at the minute crews are using just basic grass beaters which are not the best way, we’ve got specialist wildfire units here with some leaf blowers they work really well and we got some small pumps to pump water up should we need it.”

Picture courtesy of John Turner

Investigation work is due to begin into the cause of the blaze, which comes after a number of unseasonably dry days across the moorland, but that will only happen once the flames have been put out and the area is declared safe.


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