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Soldiers to continue batting moorland fires over the weekend

A soldier from 4 Scots regiment on Saddleworth Moor. Photo: Army Media NW
A soldier from 4 Scots regiment on Saddleworth Moor. Photo: Army Media NW
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Soldiers will stay in the region battling moorland fires over the weekend.

Scottish soldiers from the 100-strong A Company of the 4th Battalion, Royal Regiment of Scotland, known as the Highlanders, joined forces more than 100 firefighters currently battling the blaze on Saddleworth Moor.

A soldier from 4 Scots regiment on Saddleworth Moor. Photo: Army Media NW

A soldier from 4 Scots regiment on Saddleworth Moor. Photo: Army Media NW

With a separate blaze on Rivington Moor, near Chorley, now spreading, resources at both Lancashire and Greater Manchester are becoming stretched.

The fires on the peat-embedded terrain and dry shrubland are currently contained but could take weeks to be fully extinguished with no prospect of rain in the next week.

With possible changes in wind conditions and stretched resources throughout the region in mind, Andy Burnham, Mayor of Greater Manchester, wants to extend the Army presence for another three days.

He said: "This has probably been the busiest week for Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service in living memory.

Firefighters battle the flames at Winter Hill in Lancashire

Firefighters battle the flames at Winter Hill in Lancashire

"I don't think anyone can remember a busier week but when called upon they have been there for us and we are incredibly grateful to them.

"As it is an ongoing situation and because there has been in some places a flaring up today of the fire, we believe we continue to need large numbers of people out there providing support so a request has gone in from Greater Manchester to the Government for the extension of the military support.

"We are hoping that we will be able to extend that by three days.

"We are incredibly grateful for the help that has given so far by the Government and the military, and we are hope that by continuing to work in that way we will continue to bring this situation under control."

GMFRS acting chief fire officer Dawn Docx said: "We are containing the fire.

"It's taking a lot of effort, a lot of resources, not only from Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service but also from fire and rescue services from up and down the country, and we are very grateful for the military being part of that as well.

"It's currently being contained.

"We can't say when it might be extinguished. It could be days, it might even be weeks.

"This weather obviously isn't helping at all.

"What we need is a real downpour and that will do the trick.

"I can't speak highly enough about the support the communities have also given us.

"They have been donating food, resources and that has been wonderful to have their support.

"We are continue to do our best in order to contain this very difficult situation."