THE British Army has been put on standby as a huge wildfire continues to burn on Saddleworth Moor in Greater Manchester.
The blaze began on Sunday, June 24, before reigniting on Monday and sweeping through the moor towards dozens of homes.
At least 35 households were evacuated last night after flames were spotted within meters of residential areas in Carrbrook, Stalybridge.
Locals have reported ash falling from above and the sky turning red as the inferno continues to spread in its fourth day.
High temperatures and strong winds are believed to have intensified the situation, which was declared a "major incident" by emergency services late last night.
The police helicopter will be up in the air today assessing the scene at #Moorlandfire
For more updates, follow @manchesterfire
— G M Police (@gmpolice) June 27, 2018
Smoke emanating from the fire was even visible in images taken by NASA's AQUA MODIS satellite, 700km above the Earth:
Smoke from the Saddleworth Moor fire clearly visible from space on this Nasa satellite image yesterday afternoon. Matt pic.twitter.com/YMWa01QwW3
— BBC Weather (@bbcweather) June 27, 2018
Thankfully, no one is understood to have been injured by the blaze - but a number of farm animals are believed to have died.
— SteveRobsonMEN (@SteveRobson04) June 26, 2018
Leon Parkes, assistant chief fire officer with Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service, said: "We've got lots of experience with dealing with moor fires, but this particular incident is vast.
“We’ve got over 6km of affected area - there is a fire occurring in pockets around the outskirts.
"The plan today is to try and really, really put some resource on the scene and put a heavy attack on this fire - if that needs military assistance, that’s what we’ll consider".
Saddleworth Moor fire. A woman wearing a gas mask makes her way back from the shops in Mossley this morning (Image: Allan Bentley/Cavendish Press) pic.twitter.com/qMDQUgrLgO
— Dave Haslam (@Mr_Dave_Haslam) June 27, 2018
People living in Stalybridge and nearby have been advised to remain indoors and keep their houses sealed so as to stop smoke from entering.
Mr Parkes added: "Our advice to members of the public is to close your windows and doors if you are experiencing smoke.
"Anybody on medication, continue to take that medication."
— Judith Moritz (@JudithMoritz) June 27, 2018
Stalybrigde MP Jonathan Reynolds told TalkSport this morning that the smoke plumes were visible from across Greater Manchester.
"It’s almost like an apocalyptic scene, because of the nature of the landscape and the scale of the fire," he said.
"The smoke in the town itself is quite unbelievable.
"We have had this before, fires on the moors, particularly in summer it does happen. But nothing on this scale."
This is where homes were evacuated last night. Residents could see the flames racing down the hill, though not much else because of all the smoke.
— Rachael Venables (@rachaelvenables) June 27, 2018
Greater Manchester Police said that over 2,000 acres of moorland had been destroyed so far by the "unprecedented" fire.
Around 65,000 gallons of water have been dropped by helicopters to fight the flames, which the force said were "devastating to the moorland and the wildlife that live there."
The fire brigade are yet to reveal the cause of the wildfire.