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Arson investigation underway after huge moorland fire between Derbyshire and Greater Manchester

Police have said a huge moorland fire between Derbyshire and Greater Manchester is now being treated as arson.

The blaze, on Saddleworth Moor, has been burning for more than a week.

Firefighters from across Derbyshire have been helping their colleagues in Manchester fight the fire. Photo - Derbyshire Fire and Rescue Service

Firefighters from across Derbyshire have been helping their colleagues in Manchester fight the fire. Photo - Derbyshire Fire and Rescue Service

Crews from across Derbyshire have been called in to help fight the fire, alongside their colleagues from Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service.

An investigation has been launched by Greater Manchester Police into the cause of the fire, which first began shortly after 8pm on Sunday June 24 on land near to Buckton Vale in Tameside.

Witnesses reported people lighting a bonfire at around 7.30pm on Sunday June 24 on the moors near the Stalybridge estate and police are currently pursuing this as a possible line of enquiry.

Chief Superintendent Neil Evans, Territorial Policing Commander for Tameside, said: “The moorland fire is now being investigated as arson following information from local witnesses and initial inquiries.”

“The scale of this fire is exceptional and we are treating it with the utmost seriousness.

“That said, we are under no illusion that solid evidence as to where the fire started and what was the cause, will not be easy to establish.

“The areas we have been able to look include dusty ash, burnt peat and grass and, because of this, our work with the fire service will be painstaking.

“We recognise the incredible support that the emergency services have received and we now hope that the local community can help us further by getting in touch with any information that could help our investigation.

“Were you on the moors last Sunday and did you see anything that could help us understand exactly what happened?

“If you know anything, no matter how small, it could help our investigation so please get in touch.”

Although now under control, the fire is continuing to burn despite the best efforts of all those involved.

Interim Chief Fire Officer, Dawn Docx said: “Specialist fire investigation officers at Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service are working closely with Greater Manchester Police to investigate the suspected arson in the moorlands in Tameside.

“Investigations are currently ongoing with a multi-agency approach to find the source of the ignition. There is an area of interest that specialist officers are inspecting.

“Firefighters are working in extremely difficult and challenging circumstances in Tameside and I can’t praise crews enough – they’ve done a fantastic job and are continuing to work hard to put out the multiple fires across the moorlands.

“I would like to urge the public to be really careful with barbecues, discarded cigarettes and glass bottles in the countryside, fires in the moorlands can spread rapidly so it’s important that we take extra care.”

Anyone with any information is asked to contact police on 0161 856 9353,or 101 or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.