Gamekeepers involved in battle to prevent spread of moorland fire between Sheffield and Manchester

Gamekeepers from across the Peak District are involved in the battle to prevent a huge moorland blaze from spreading.

Keepers from nine shooting estates in the Peak District returned to Saddleworth Moor today to help tackle flames which have raged all week.

Gamekeepers are battling the blaze on Saddleworth Moor

Gamekeepers are battling the blaze on Saddleworth Moor

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Twelve keepers are working on Arnfield Moor, which is managed by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds and owned by United Utilities.

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The keepers have spent the last three days working alongside firefighters, Peak District National Park wardens, National Trust wardens, RSPB wardens, farmers and other volunteers.

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Richard Bailey, from the Peak District Moorland Group, said: "Gamekeepers from nine shooting estates stepped up to the plate bringing not only their experienced firefighting skills but also Argocats equipped with specialist ‘fogging’ units – which enable us to train water on the fire - on to the moor.

"The fire has been horrendous, and everyone has been working together flat out to get it under control.

A fire on Saddleworth Moor has raged all week

A fire on Saddleworth Moor has raged all week

"Two helicopters were on site and worked with such skill and precision dropping water onto site and filling temporary dams to keep our foggers topped up and to run hoses out for direct spraying.

"We’re extremely grateful to volunteers who came up on the moor with food and water for those tackling the fire."

He added: "The scale of this fire is staggering, and the damage to precious wildlife and unique habitat is unimaginable.

"There’s lots of speculation about the cause and that is a matter for police and fire service investigation.

Gamekeepers from across the Peak District are on Saddleworth Moor

Gamekeepers from across the Peak District are on Saddleworth Moor

"It is simply not correct for anyone to suggest that moorland management is at the root of this. The reason that this fire burned so fiercely is the extremely dry and hot weather conditions."