100 soldiers from the 4th Battalion, Royal Regiment of Scotland, and an RAF Chinook helicopter have been deployed to support the Great Manchester Fire & Rescue Service operation responding to the Saddleworth Moor fires.

The troops have been deployed overnight from their barracks in Catterick.

Operating out of a nearby Army Training Centre, they will assist the effort to control and reduce the fire, undertaking tasks such as the management of water lines, fire beating and providing general support where required.

The RAF Chinook, flying out of RAF Odiham, will arrive this morning. It will airlift heavy equipment such as High Volume Pump Units to areas that are difficult to access due to the terrain.

The fire which is stretched across seven miles of moorland has been contained and crews are continuing to make good progress in extinguishing the fires. There are currently six affected areas across the moorland where firefighters and troops will be deployed to today.

Assistant Chief Fire Officer, Tony Hunter said: “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.

“The RAF Chinook helicopter has been provided to us and is available as a resource if we need it. We will revise our tactical plan and assess the fires across the moorlands to see if and when it is appropriate to be used.

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

“I would like to thank local residents and businesses who have been very understanding and incredibly generous in their donations to our crews. We will continue to work closely with our partners, volunteers and the Armed Forces today, and we hope to make some more good progress.”


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