PICTURES: British Troops Deployed to Help Fight Worst Moorland Wildfire in Living Memory

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Over 100 firefighters working in 12 hour shifts to contain the spread of significant wildfires in North-East England were reinforced overnight to Thursday by soldiers from the 4th Battalion, Royal Regiment of Scotland.

The fire, which is spread over seven square miles of Saddleworth Moor near Manchester, has been described as as biggest such blaze in living memory. The deployment of the 100 British Army troops came after a request by Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service, and a Royal Air Force Chinook helicopter has been put on standby.

A civilian helicopter has been used to air-drop water from a nearby reservoir on particularly badly affected areas. The BBC reported the remarks of chief assistant fire officer Tony Hunter who said he was cautious about apparent improvements in the situation, remarking: “The fire is contained at the moment, but we only need a change of wind direction to see the fire increase. We are working hard to keep on top of the blaze.”

The most important thing needed at this stage to end the fire, Hunter said, was rainfall, but none is forecast. Without rain, the fire could continue for days or weeks.

Members of the 4th Battalion, Royal Regiment of Scotland join firefighters as they prepare to fight a fire on Saddleworth moor near Stalybridge, northwest England on June 28, 2018. – A hundred soldiers and a military helicopter today joined firefighters battling a rare wildfire in northern England that could burn for weeks amid sustained hot weather, officials said. (Photo by Oli SCARFF / AFP) (Photo credit should read OLI SCARFF/AFP/Getty Images)

STALYBRIDGE, ENGLAND – JUNE 28: Soldiers from 4th Battalion Royal Regiment Scotland head out to tackle wildfires near Swineshaw reservoir in Stalybridge on June 28, 2018 in Stalybridge, England. Around 100 soldiers are to be deployed to help the Fire and Rescue service tackle the large moorland fire above Stalybridge. (Photo by Anthony Devlin/Getty Images)

A civilian helicopter a lifts water from a nearby resevoir to drop on the burning ground / Getty Images

STALYBRIDGE, ENGLAND – JUNE 28: Fire fighters react as they wait to return to the fire near Swineshaw reservoir in Stalybridge on June 28, 2018 in Stalybridge, England. Around 100 soldiers are to be deployed to help the Fire and Rescue service tackle the large moorland fire above Stalybridge. (Photo by Anthony Devlin/Getty Images)

STALYBRIDGE, ENGLAND – JUNE 28: Fire fighters prepare to tackle wildfires close to Swineshaw reservoir in Stalybridge on June 28, 2018 in Stalybridge, England. Around 100 soldiers are to be deployed to help the Fire and Rescue service tackle the large moorland fire above Stalybridge. (Photo by Anthony Devlin/Getty Images)

The edge of the burn line throws into stark relief the damage wrought by the burning moorland / Getty Images

STALYBRIDGE, ENGLAND – JUNE 27: A view of the sign to Micklehurst Cricket Club below burning moorland as a large wildfire sweeps across the moors between Dovestones and Buckton Vale in Stalybridge, Greater Manchester on June 26, 2018 in Stalybridge, England. (Photo by Anthony Devlin/Getty Images)

STALYBRIDGE, ENGLAND – JUNE 26: Smoke is seen across Oldham as a large wildfire sweeps across the moors between Dovestones and Buckton Vale in Oldham, Greater Manchester on June 26, 2018 in Stalybridge, England. (Photo by Anthony Devlin/Getty Images)

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