Saddleworth Moor fire in England contained; hot temperatures to linger

Firefighters work to contain a wildfire the scorched hundreds of acres on Saddleworth moore, near Manchester in the United Kingdom. Photo courtesy Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service

Firefighters work to contain a wildfire the scorched hundreds of acres on Saddleworth Moor, near Manchester in the United Kingdom. Photo courtesy Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service

Firefighters in the United Kingdom have contained a wildfire burning through the rolling, grassy hills near Manchester, but prolonged hot weather is setting the stage for an unusually active fire season in Britain.

The fires have burned since Sunday on Saddleworth Moor east of Manchester. The location — and rarity— of fires in the area has led to some stunning photos, too.

On Thursday, soldiers from the Royal Regiment of Scotland (4 SCOTS) arrived to provide to support to the approximately 100 Greater Manchester firefighters in Tameside. The fire was said to have burned approximately 2,000 acres, and residents who had been forced from their homes have been allowed to return.

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

“We have not seen any indication of any rainfall, so this incident is likely to be prolonged for a number of days,” he added. “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.”

Temperatures in Manchester have been above 80 degrees Fahrenheit, 10-15 degrees above normal for this time of year based on historical averages.

“The scale of this fire is staggering, and the damage to precious wildlife and unique habitat is unimaginable. There’s lots of speculation about the cause and that is a matter for police and fire service investigation,” said Richard Bailey, from the Peak District Moorland Group, in a statement.

“It is simply not correct for anyone to suggest that moorland management is at the root of this. The reason that this fire burned so fiercely is the extremely dry and hot weather conditions.”

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Author: Jason Pohl

In addition to writing for Wildfire Today, Jason Pohl reports on public safety-related issues for The Arizona Republic and USA TODAY.