Saddleworth Moors blaze: Black Country firefighters join battle to quell flames
Firefighters in the Black Country have been drafted in to assist crews on Saddleworth Moor as the huge blaze continues to burn.
Crews from Walsall and Fallings Park fire stations were called to assist the 160 and more already working in an attempt to stop the flames.
The three teams travelled almost 80 miles to the incident on the outskirts of Manchester over the weekend.
Seven square miles of land between Tameside and Oldham has gone up in flames and blanketed the Greater Manchester region and beyond in smoke and ash.
West Midlands Fire Service's assistance is part of a national mutual aid to support the major incident.
The crews left Walsall Fire Station at 8am before returning at 9pm the same day on Saturday.
They were joined by Fallings Park for the trip on Sunday.
Area commander Simon Barry, of West Midlands Fire Service, said: “We are committed to giving Greater Manchester Fire Service whatever support we can during this intense period of activity on Saddleworth Moor.
"We are able to offer this support and maintain our own service delivery model due to the work of WMFS fire control and our ability to dynamically mobilise resources within our area to ensure our response times are not compromised.
"The current weather in the UK has seen an intense few days of activity both within our and all fire and rescue services across the country, and we as a fire and rescue service have pulled together to ensure the safety of the public and firefighters both on Saddleworth Moor and the West Midlands area."
It comes as it was announced that the Army will stay on Saddleworth Moor throughout the weekend and into next week to help keep control of moorland blazes in the area.
Scottish soldiers from the 100-strong A Company of the 4th Battalion, Royal Regiment of Scotland, known as the Highlanders, joined forces on Thursday with about 160 firefighters when they were deployed to the scene for an initial 48-hour deployment
A request for an extension of military personnel providing continued support over the weekend and into next week was granted on Friday afternoon, Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service (GMFRS) said.
On Friday, the fires on the peat-embedded terrain and dry shrubland were contained but could take weeks to be fully extinguished with no prospect of rain in the next week.
West Midlands Fire Service's Organisational Learning and People Development department announced the operation on Twitter.
A post on Saturday morning read: "Two appliances from Walsall Fire Station start the long journey up north to assist Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service tackle the moorland fires.
"Not very often you get a mix of four different fire and rescue services working together – making sure the fire doesn’t spread any further."