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Saturday 2 December 2023 Dublin: 4°C
Danny Lawson/PA Wire/PA Images Firefighters tackle a wildfire on Winter Hill near Bolton earlier this week.

Firefighters in England tackle 'aggressive' moorland wildfire after two blazes merge

Crews from Manchester and the surrounding county of Lancashire are tackling a “rapidly developing, aggressive fire”.

FIREFIGHTERS IN NORTHERN England launched a “large-scale attack” on a new moorland blaze today, as emergency responders continued to battle another nearby wildfire that has been burning all week.

Crews from Manchester and the surrounding county of Lancashire are tackling a “rapidly developing, aggressive fire” that gained strength overnight after two big blazes merged north of Bolton, according to officials.

“We increased firefighting efforts at 4:30 this morning in order to mount a large-scale attack on the fire fronts,” Lancashire Fire Service said in a statement.

Twenty-five firefighting vehicles have been deployed, the statement said, adding:

We are looking into getting helicopter support later in the day to assist with getting water onto the incident ground.

Officials warned people to avoid the area – and not fly drones overhead.

“There are helicopters flying in the area to extinguish the fire and the drones are putting firefighters’ and pilots’ lives at risk,” the fire service said.

England and the rest of Britain has been hit with the same hot weather affecting Ireland at the moment. Weeks of uninterrupted hot weather across the country that has left rural areas dry, causing far more wildfires than usual.

In Ireland, the fires services here have been dealing more gorse fires and blazes than usual, although not at this scale.

With little rain forecast for the area in England, officials have warned it could be weeks before they bring the blazes under control.

Meanwhile dozens of firefighters remain at the site of another large blaze 30 miles (48 kilometres) away, which has raging since last Sunday

Last Thursday members of the armed forces were called in to help tackle the fire on Saddleworth Moor, east of Manchester, which had led to the temporary evacuation of dozens of homes.

Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service (GMFRS) said it had 28 fire engines and 120 personnel battling both moorland blazes.

Smoke has darkened the skies above one of the country’s most densely populated areas.

- © AFP, 2018 With reporting from Cormac Fitzgerald

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