Drones hampering efforts to put out huge blaze between Sheffield and Manchester

The fire rages on the moors.
The fire rages on the moors.

People flying drones are hampering firefighters' efforts to put out a huge blaze on the moors between Sheffield and Manchester.

A major incident was declared as high winds caused two separate blazes to merge into one across Winter Hill in Bolton, while the fight against the fire on Saddleworth Moor, 30 miles away, entered a second week.

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The raging fire has caused people to be evacuated from a number of homes and helicopters have been drafted in to drop water on the flames.

The fire service is now urging sightseers visiting to fly drones over the flames to stay away.

Lancashire Fire and Rescue tweeted over the weekend: "‘We’re really concerned that members of the public are heading up on to the moors.

"There are helicopters flying in the area to extinguish the fire and the drones are putting firefighters’ and pilots’ lives at risk."

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The fire started on Sunday, June 24, amid Britain's heatwave and has devastated a large area of moorland.

Greater Manchester Police said dozens of homes have been evacuated so far as strong winds drive the flames closer to residential areas.

Images posted on social media showed bright orange flames lighting the night sky, while smoke from the fire can be seen for miles.

No injuries have been reported as a result of the fire, but people living nearby have been advised to keep their windows and doors closed by Public Health England.

It has destroyed about 5000 acres of moorland.

About 100 soldiers have also been drafted in to help with the large-scale operation.

Crews from Derbyshire are also involved in the firefighting operation.

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Phil Nelson, Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service group manager for Tameside, said: "Crews are still tackling this difficult fire and are working hard to contain the blaze and prevent further fire spread.

"Firefighters are faced with very difficult circumstances, intense heat and are working on challenging terrain.

"Our main considerations are for crew welfare. It is physically draining working at this incident and it is vital that our firefighters have regular breaks and that relief crews are available to take over."