moor fire
© Anthony Devlin/Getty Images
The fire on Tuesday night was accompanied by a dramatic full moon
Firefighters are continuing to battle a huge moorland fire which is continuing to spread, as more than 50 homes have been evacuated.

The blaze on Saddleworth Moor, which measures 3.7miles (6km), has been raging since Sunday night.

Firefighters are working in "tremendously difficult conditions" to contain the "major incident".

The homes in Carrbrook, near Stalybridge, Greater Manchester, were evacuated on Tuesday night.

Matt Lomas, 76, who was evacuated with his wife, daughter and eight-month-old granddaughter Isla, said: "It was horrendous."

"We could see flames 50 feet high like raging ball of fire all on the hill side.

"It was really scary - we were really worried the smoke would hurt Isla so we had to get out."

The National Police Air Service helped with an aerial survey of the fire
The National Police Air Service helped with an aerial survey of the fire
fire moor

Great Manchester Fire and Recue Service (GMFRS) confirmed the blaze was spreading and said crews have recommenced "offensive firefighting" at first light.
The fire began on Sunday night, reignited on Monday during the hot weather and then spread throughout Tuesday, fanned by evening winds.

Tameside Borough Council leader Brenda Warrington said: "I've just been told that over 50 homes have been evacuated with about 150 people involved."

Assistant Chief Fire Officer Leon Parkes said there are 10 fire engines and 50 firefighters at the scene facing "enormous" challenges against the blaze which has "pockets" occurring in different areas.

He said crews planned to "put a heavy attack" on the fire on Wednesday and said the Army are on standby to step in.

Smoke and flames can still be seen for miles but Mr Parkes said crews had "quelled the risk" to homes at risk from the flames.

He said it had not been established what might have caused the fire.

Firefighter Ricky Case, who has been out on the hills, said: "It's just the sheer vastness of it. It's one of the biggest ones I've been on in a long time. The logistics of it all, trying to get water to the locations where we need it."

On Facebook, Greater Manchester Police's Saddleworth division said about 2,000 acres of moorland had been destroyed in the fire.

Some 65,000 gallons of water were dropped on the blaze by a helicopter on Tuesday to fight the fire which was "unprecedented in recent times", it added.
People living in Carrbrook moved animals amid the dense smoke

People living in Carrbrook moved animals amid the dense smoke
Saddleworth Moor fire
Ash was falling from the sky on worried residents as they quickly packed their bags to flee the fire that blazed on the moors behind their homes in Carrbrook last night.

One resident took me through the smoke-filled streets to his farm where his cattle and sheep were huddled together, with black billowing plumes towering over them.

And this morning, the fire rages on. In the last hour more engines have arrived and there at least 50 firefighters here.

Families with children are coming back to pick up more supplies and power has been turned back on.

But residents are clearly concerned that the hot weather may lead to pockets of fire rekindling, even as the smoke blocks the sun from view.

On Tuesday night, Greater Manchester Police said more than 30 homes in Carr Rise, Carr Lane and Calico Crescent were being evacuated due to the proximity of the flames.

Calico Crescent resident Dee stayed at home through the night to help save animals and pets on the street, including cats and hedgehogs.

"We went outside and there was just this fire crackling literally on the hill behind the house. The smoke was acrid and thick. We could hardly see," she said.

Reverend Chris Finney, who has opened his church, St James' in Millbrook, said: "I've lived in this area all my life and I think I can say that within my memory - and I'm in my 60s - I've not seen fires on the moors to the extent that we're looking at them at the moment."

Tameside councillor Clive Patrick added: "It's terrifying. I've never seen it as bad as this. I've been here now 30 years and this is the worst I've seen."

The Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, thanked fire crews after firefighters from across Greater Manchester, Lancashire and Derbyshire spent much of Tuesday tackling the fire.

People as far as 20 miles away reported being able to smell the smoke on Tuesday evening, although GMFRS stressed the smoke was not toxic.

Huge amounts of smoke has drifted westwards, with large parts of Greater Manchester experiencing poor visibility.

Public Health England offered advice to those affected by smoke. It tweeted: "Smoke is an irritant and can make people's eyes and throat sore. Wash your face with soap and water and keep hydrated by drinking water."

Two schools in the Tameside area have been closed on Wednesday and others may close later, Ms Warrington said.