'Deliberate' gorse fire re-ignites

Published Saturday, 26 May 2012
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A major gorse fire on the Mourne Mountains - which re-ignited on Saturday - was started deliberately, the fire service said.

'Deliberate' gorse fire re-ignites
Crews battle the flames. (© UTV)

Ten acres of land at Moneyscalp Forest near Bryansford were scorched when the blaze took hold at around 6pm on Friday.

Over 40 firefighters and seven engines were involved in the operation.

NIFRS Area Commander John Allen believes the blaze was started on purpose.

"We are absolutely certain that this fire was started deliberately," he told UTV.

This is the fourth incident of deliberate ignition in six weeks in this forest

John Allen

"This particular forest has a history of deliberate fire setting over a number of years."

Firefighters were forced to return to the mountainside on Saturday afternoon when the blaze flared up once again.

Warm weather combined with wind, which was spreading the flames uphill quickly, made the fire difficult for responding crews to extinguish safely.

Commander Allen said their priority was stopping it from spreading to £50,000 worth of timber stacked nearby.

He continued: "We dealt with that fire and we prevented it from spreading to the harvested timber which is waiting to go to the saw mills

"That was our priority, to save that property and thus save jobs in the construction and agriculture industries."

The fire was the fourth in the area in the past six weeks.

© UTV News
Comments Comments
Gerard in belfast wrote (976 days ago):
As this seems to be a ritual occurrence everytime there is a dry spell, surely the PSNI should start formulating some sort of action plan, to hopefully prevent such occurrences or catch the culprits. Surely, the deployment of a helicopter over the few dry spells we get would not be too much to ask. I hear they are deploying officiers to catch speeding motorcyclists visiting the North West, then again there is revenue in that.
me in antrim wrote (977 days ago):
god no ,not the timber.
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