Gorse fires cause havoc in UK with hills above slate town blanketed in fire

Hot weather has seen gorse fires cause havoc around Britain – with images showing hills above a Welsh town blanketed in fire.

The famous slate town of Blaenau Ffestiniog, North Wales, is being lit up by fires on the mountain above, with road closures and people evacuated from homes.

North Wales Fire service said they were tackling a large fire at the Llechwedd Slate quarry and advised people to avoid the area.

Local resident Laura Raymond tweeted her home had been evacuated while images from Chris McPhail showed fire raging above the town, which has a population of 4,000. 

North Wales police tweeted: "From the roundabout in Blaenau Ffestiniog to McColls on Church Street due to Fire on the mountain. Diversions in place but please avoid the area if possible."

In other part of the UK five separate moorland blazes have broken out in and around Greater Manchester in just 24 hours.

Flames have ripped through land between Diggle, Denshaw and Delph, near Saddleworth; Marsden Moor in West Yorkshire; and Tintwistle in Derbyshire.

Then, on Monday evening, flames were seen on the hills above Uppermill in Oldham – and in Shaw Moor in Stalybridge, Tameside.

Specialist wildfire units were drafted in to help the dozens of crews dealing with the incidents.

Helicopters were providing water air support to ground crews, scooping up thousands of gallons of water from reservoirs and dropping it onto the flames.

Thick smoke billowing smoke was seen rising high into the air above the hills on the Oldham/West Yorkshire border.

Across the Irish Sea Air Corps helicopters and army personnel have been brought in to help firefighters battle a large gorse fire in Co Donegal.

A number of homes are at risk in the Annagry and Loughanure areas after the blaze broke out at around 6am on Monday and spread rapidly.

Crews have working to control the fire for several hours.

Minister for Education and Donegal TD Joe McHugh said: "My heart goes out to the people and communities of Anagaire (Annagry), Loch an Iuir (Loughanure) and Cionn Caslach and west Donegal.

"I've liaised directly with the chief fire officer, Defence Minister Paul Kehoe and officials in his department.

"The Air Corps has been dispatched along with soldiers from Finner to support the crews on the ground.

"Please take care out there, stay safe and follow the advice of the authorities on the ground.

"We have brave, professional crews fighting to save property and protect life. And a huge credit to the people of the area for the massive community response to be there for one another."

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