GREATER Manchester Fire and Rescue Service (GMFRS) has warned a huge blaze at a Bury landfill site could burn for several days before it is extinguished.

A Major Incident was declared by GMFRS at around 5.40am this morning after the fire at Viridor Recycling Centre on Pilsworth Road in Bury caused huge plumes of smoke across the surrounding area.

The blaze is believed to have started after a section of household waste measuring around 150m x 100m started burning at roughly 00.15am this morning (Monday, April 26).

The significant amount of smoke, along with the location of the incident which is adjacent to Junction 3 of the M66, prompted GMFRS to declare the Major Incident with a number of surrounding roads cloased and residents advised to keep their windows closed.

A Bury Council spokesperson said: "A major incident has been declared at Viridor Recycling Centre at Pilsworth where firefighters are on site tackling a blaze involving household waste.

"The fire is causing smoke in the air so local people are asked to keep their windows and doors closed.

"No roads are currently closed in Bury but Rochdale Council will be closing-off Moss Hall Road in Heywood and diversions will be put in place."

Chief Fire Officer, Dave Russell, said: "This is a difficult incident to deal with for a number of reasons including the access to the quarry and the challenges around securing an adequate enough water supply to make an impact, but also the sheer scale and volume of the material involved.

"The site covers 15,000 squared metres with waste material that is well alight and this compounded by the fact that at its deepest part the waste runs to a depth of 35 metres.

"At the moment we don't know to what depth it is burning but it is a huge volume of material which is largely shredded foam, rubber and plastics. It is material that has been recycled and what's left has no useable life going forward so it ends up as landfill."

Despite the material which is alight, Mr Russell said he wanted to reassure the public that the materials on fire and the smoke do not pose any significant risk to people’s health.

"One of the reasons for declaring a Major Incident was the concerns we had over off-site implications for local residents," he said. "The weather conditions at the moment are favourable to us and the smoke is going high into the atmosphere and so is dissipating at a high level.

"A different set of climatic conditions could've meant the smoke was lying over Bury itself but our advice remains for residents to keep windows and doors closed.

"It is an improving scene but we will be onsite for several days - these are fires that are not extinguished quickly and we will be there throughout the week."

Mr Russell added that there was no immediate evidence as to what the caused the fire's outbreak.

"We have a fire investigation team that are onsite but at the moment it is too early to determine a cause," he added.