NEWS
26/06/2018 19:19 BST | Updated 26/06/2018 19:43 BST

Heatwave Sparks Wildfire At Stalybridge Cemetery Near Manchester

'Firefighters are faced with very difficult circumstances'.

Wildfires near Greater Manchester spread to a local cemetery on Tuesday, creating eerie scenes as smoke billowed around gravestones while scorched earth burned.

Balmy heatwave temperatures furthered fires on moors near Tameside, leaving firefighters to fend off the approach of flames at a church in Stalybridge.

Footage captured at the scene, above, shows desperate efforts to dampen smouldering soil and dry weeds, as smoke cloaks stones marking graves from the Victorian era. 

ITN
Graves were shrouded in thick smoke as the wildfire flourished in the cemetery outside Manchester on Tuesday.
ITN
Brave firefighters fought to combat flames amid soaring temperatures.

Greater Manchester Fire Service’s Phil Nelson said: “Crews are still tacking this difficult fire and are working hard to contain the blaze and prevent further fire spread. Firefighters are faced with very difficult circumstances, intense heat and are working on challenging terrain

“Our main considerations are for crew welfare, it is physically draining working at this incident and it is vital that our firefighters have regular breaks and that relief crews are available to take over. I would like to thank the Salvation Army for keeping our crews fed and watered during this incident.

“We are coordinating our efforts with our partners at the Peak District, United Utilities and Ranger Services and will continue to into the evening.

“If you live locally and smoke is an issue, please close your windows and doors.”

It comes as Britain’s rail network was crippled overnight by year-high temperatures.