There was growing public anger tonight after an intense fire destroyed a huge section of stunning moorland on the border between West Yorkshire and Saddleworth.

The smoke, rising hundreds of feet into the sky, could seen from many parts of Kirklees, with around 100 people dialling 999 to report the incident.

The blaze took hold on a steep hillside overlooking the picturesque Dove Stone Reservoir, near Greenfield, Saddleworth. Fire chiefs revealed that the uneven terrain had hindered the determined efforts of firefighters to prevent the flames spreading onto a "vast expanse of tinder-dry moorland."

The A635 Holmfirth Road had to be closed due to the blaze, but the Telegraph & Argus was on the scene before the road closure came into force and captured these spectacular images.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus:

The blaze started at around 2pm and, shortly before 5pm, GMP Saddleworth issued a statement saying: "Please do not come to Dovestone or use the A635 Holmfirth Road until told otherwise.

"Fire, Police and partner agencies are responding to a major incident and need to be able to move around the road network surrounding the Dove Stone site unhindered.

"Please please stay away."

Bradford Telegraph and Argus:

Many fire engines from West Yorkshire have been scrambled to help their colleagues just over the Pennines. A helicopter from United Utilities helped the efforts to fight the flames.

By 5.15pm, the battle to control the blaze was still ongoing, with Greater Manchester Fire & Rescue Service providing the following update: "Firefighters are continuing to tackle a large moorland fire.

"The fire involves around 600m by 200m of dry moorland. Ten fire engines, a wildfire unit and a Burn Team from Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service are in attendance.

"A Wildfire Unit from West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service has also been requested to attend.

"The fire is producing a large amount of smoke. Please can people avoid the area while firefighters tackle the fire and if you live near by keep your windows and doors closed. 

Bradford Telegraph and Argus:

Caption: The scene from Greenfield Road, between Holmfirth and Saddleworth

By 7.30pm, the warnings had become even more urgent, with the fire service revealing that the flames had spread, affecting 600m by 600m.

A multi-agency meeting was held to discuss a strategy, involving Northwest Ambulance Service, Oldham Mountain Rescue, Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service, West Yorkshire Fire Brigade Wildlife Officer, United Utilities and Greater Manchester fire service.

The joint operations to extinguish the fire is said to be proceeding at an "aggressive pace."

Bradford Telegraph and Argus:

Additional crews are en-route to the scene to provide back-up through the night.

"If you still find yourself in the local area, please leave immediately," emergency services said at 7.15pm.

The blaze comes amid rising concern over the way reservoirs and other beauty spots are being misused during the lockdown. Emergency services have made desperate pleas for people not to use barbecues at such locations, especially in the current tinder dry conditions.

At the weekend, firefighters were scrambled to a fire at Digley Reservoir - about five miles from the scene of today's blaze - after a barbecue sparked a blaze.

With tensions already running high, the incident has prompted an outpouring of anger on social media.

One observer wrote on twitter: "Some to**er has set fire to Dovestones" and said it was "about time" the authorities tackled "what's been going on in the area."

Another tweeted: "Dovestones is on fire. Idiots need prosecuting and disposable bbqs need banning NOW."

In a moment that seemed to sum up the current anxiety, a video has emerged of the Dove Stone fire in which a young boy in the background - clearly quite emotional at seeing the moorland ablaze - can be heard to say: "They've got to be arrested!."

Meanwhile, one woman tweeted: "The utter selfishness of some people. Either arson or bloody disposable barbecues. Either way, selfish stupid behaviour which puts the emergency services at risk and destroys wildlife."

Bradford Telegraph and Argus:

Caption: The smoke could be seen from Digley Reservoir, around five miles away near Holmfirth

One resident, who lives near Meltham, which is a short drive from both Digley and Dove Stone, said people in the area were worried about the apparently care-free attitude of some people visiting the area.

"It's been getting ridiculous around here and people are really keen to see the police crack down on the problem. There was a fire at Digley on Saturday, there were about six police cars there again on Sunday and now we get this mayhem over at Dove Stone. People are worried and are starting to ask what the hell is going on!", added the resident.

"It must have been a huge fire because my friend could see it from Upperthong, which is over towards Holmfirth," they added.