Belfast Telegraph

999 crews faced 2,000 gorse fires in Northern Ireland last year

By Michael McHugh

More than 2,000 gorse blazes in Northern Ireland were attended by firefighters last year, the Fire and Rescue Service has said.

Most were started deliberately or because of thoughtless or careless behaviour, according to assistant chief fire officer Dale Ashford.

Failing to extinguish cigarettes properly or leaving barbecues unattended were common causes.

Around 55 fires a day required the emergency service during the first week of last April, the service said.

In 2012/13 the emergency services were needed at 2,088 gorse blazes – down from 3,651 in 2011/12.

The tally of hoaxes and attacks on crews tends to peak over the Easter holidays.

"Dealing with these types of incidents puts not only firefighters' lives at risk but the lives of everyone in the local community and puts additional pressure on the Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service resources," said Mr Ashford.

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