Wildfires of "apocalyptic" proportions have engulfed Saddleworth Moor, near Manchester, northern England, for several days this week. The blaze began on Sunday 24 June during a heatwave which saw temperatures across the UK rise to record highs. The fires — which set seven square miles of grassland ablaze — have resulted in the greater Manchester region being blanketed in a canopy of thick smoke. Large wildfires spreading across Saddleworth Moor and towards residential areas.Image: Joel Goodman/LNP/REX/ShutterstockDry peat, high temperatures, and unrelenting winds are said to be hindering attempts to keep the fire under control. A major incident was declared earlier this week, and people were forced to evacuate their homes as the blaze showed no signs of abating. The military was also called in to support firefighters tackling the blaze. A large wildfire sweeps across the moors between Dovestones and Buckton Vale in Stalybridge, Greater Manchester.Image: Anthony Devlin/Getty ImagesFirefighters warn that it could take weeks for the fires to be fully extinguished. A local resident told the BBC the blaze "looked like the apocalypse" and another said it was like watching "ash falling like rain." The full moon rises behind burning moorland as a large wildfire sweeps across the moors between Dovestones and Buckton Vale in Stalybridge, Greater Manchester.Image: Anthony Devlin/Getty ImagesLocal government workers have said they're praying for a "really good downpour" of rain, which would speed up efforts to extinguish the fire. "We do need mother nature to help us quite frankly," Brenda Warrington, leader of Tameside Council, said during a press briefing. Firefighters tackling the wildfire on Saddleworth Moor.Image: Peter Byrne/PA Images via Getty Images"It's as dry as a tinder box up there. A lot of winds are fanning the fire," she added. Matt Lomas, a resident who was evacuated from his home, told the BBC, it was "really scary" to watch the flames ravage the land near their home. Firefighters fight the wildfire on Saddleworth Moor.Image: Peter Byrne/PA Images via Getty Images"We could see flames 50ft high like a raging ball of fire all on the hill side," Lomas said. A large cloud of smoke covers the village of Mossley as a large wildfire sweeps across the moors.Image: Anthony Devlin/Getty ImagesLomas' wife Pauline said it's impossible to see "how bad it is up on the moors now." "It's fantastic how much everyone is rallying round to look after us and it shows how seriously they are taking it if the Army is getting involved," she added. WATCH: This "e-skin" provides a realistic sense of touch to prosthetic hands read more Disclaimer: Chances are that this post was requested by an advertiser.