Pictures and video show scale of huge fire on moorland between Derbyshire and Greater Manchester
A holidaymaker has captured a series of photos of a huge fire that has been spreading over moorland between Derbyshire and Greater Manchester.
Firefighters have been battling the blaze on Saddleworth Moor since Tuesday.
Crews from Derbyshire have been in attendance at the scene, helping colleagues from Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service with the fire, which has now been declared a major incident.
Kate MacRea, 48, captured these images of the early stages of the fire from a plane when she was returning to Manchester Airport.
She said: "It was about 7pm on Monday when I was coming in to land that I noticed the smoke.
"It looked like a volcano with the plumes of smoke rising up into the air. I took some pictures on my phone through the plane window and thought nothing more about it.
"It was only when I saw the blaze on the telly last night I realised I had photographed the early stages of it.
"From a distance, it looked like a huge volcanic eruption."
On Tuesday night, 34 homes on Calico Crescent in Carrbrook were evacuated due to their proximity to the fire.
Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service Assistant Chief Fire Officer Leon Parkes said there are ten fire engines and 50 firefighters at the scene facing "enormous" challenges against the blaze which has "pockets" occurring in different areas.
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.
Fire crews used a helicopter to drop water on the fire on Tuesday, and Mr Parkes said the blaze had "presented some real challenges to the fire and rescue service in terms of access".
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."
The Moorland Association has praised the commitment and determination of gamekeepers in tackling the fire.
Gamekeepers from the Peak District Moorland Group as well as local farmers continue to combat the fire alongside fire crew.
A fire was initially extinguished in the area on Sunday night, before reigniting on Monday.
Keepers from the local estates, experienced and trained in tackling moorland fires, battled on into the darkness, using their all-terrain vehicles specially equipped with firefighting kit. The unit was continually topped up with water by fire crews on site.
Keeper Richard Bailey, who is part of the team tackling the blaze, said: “We were told by the fire service they believed the fire had been started by illegal off-road bikes forcing entry into private land - which is very distressing.
"The devastation is plain to see.
"Over 2,000 acres have been destroyed up to this point and there is no sign of a slowdown yet.
"Curlew, Grouse, Canada Geese, Meadow Pipit and Short Eared Owl all had nests burnt out, mountain hares and their young are being trapped by flames.
“The farmers who continue to help tackle the blaze are terrific and we all know we had to keep going to make sure the fire could be put out.”
Amanda Anderson, Director of the Moorland Association, said: “Keepers are acutely aware of the risk of wildfire at this time of year and are used to dealing with fires quickly, but the scale of this fire is unprecedented, and we believe it may be the biggest in living memory.
It reinforces the need for those enjoying the countryside to understand what they can do to prevent any possibility of fire – do not force entry into private land, take all rubbish home, especially broken glass, and do not throw cigarette butts into the vegetation. Camp fires, off-roading and barbeques are illegal on open moorland."