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Firefighters put out gorse inferno endangering Tyrone forest

By Steven Alexander

Published 03/06/2016

Thick plumes of smoke rise from the gorse fire in the Dunnyboe area of Co Tyrone
Thick plumes of smoke rise from the gorse fire in the Dunnyboe area of Co Tyrone

Fire crews have saved a forest after they brought a massive gorse fire in Co Tyrone under control.

The blaze took hold at Stroanback in the Dunnyboe area, and firefighters worked along a two-mile front as smoke billowed high into the sky.

Fire and Rescue Service Group Commander Alan O'Neill said around two square miles had been damaged, with the fire expected to be extinguished before midnight.

Mr O'Neill added that no property had been affected. No cause of the blaze has yet been established.

He added: "Firefighters were able to put measures in place to stop the fire spreading from the wild land to a forested area."

After a hot, sunny day, "the elements supported us for a while" added the firefighter chief, with a change in the weather finally helping the crews control the flames.

Six fire appliances and 45 firefighters dealt with the inferno, using beaters to dampen down the blaze.

Crews rushed to the scene from Strabane, Omagh, Newtownstewart, Cookstown, Crescent Link in Londonderry and Maghera.

A PSNI helicopter provided aerial support.

There were other more minor incidents throughout the day, including one on Belfast's Cave Hill.

Mr O'Neill warned people to take care while out and about - particularly when using barbecues in the hot, dry weather - and to dial 999 immediately if a fire is spotted.

Belfast Telegraph

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