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Spate of gorse fires across Northern Ireland prompts warning

Published 24/05/2010

Newry: A gorse fire takes hold of a complete side of the mountain
Newry: A gorse fire takes hold of a complete side of the mountain
Newry: A gorse fire takes hold of a complete side of the mountain
Newry: A gorse fire takes hold of a complete side of the mountain

The Fire Service has warned the public about the dangers of starting blazes after it had to deal with 50 gorse fires over the weekend.

Around 50 fires were ablaze across Northern Ireland on Saturday with one particularly serious incident at Camlough in Co Armagh which had to be dealt with by 70 firemen.

Another fire in Sixmilecross, Co Tyrone, was fought by 30 firemen.

Brian McClintock, area commander for the Fire and Rescue Service, said most gorse fires were started deliberately.

“I think many of the young people in particular involved don't appreciate the danger,” he said.

“And that's not just the danger to other people but it's the danger to themselves, because these fires can develop quite quickly.

“And of course, there's massive implications and dangers for the firefighters who respond to these incidents.”

Meanwhile, fire crews were called to a blaze at a derelict factory in east Belfast yesterday afternoon. It’s understood the building on the Castlereagh Road was not occupied when the fire started on Sunday afternoon. Part of the road between Loopland Drive and Hillsborough Drive was closed to traffic for a number of hours. Police could not say whether the fire was started deliberately.

On Saturday four fire crews extinguished a blaze at Whiteabbey in Co Antrim.

A fast-food outlet, Spar supermarket and Ladbroke bookmakers at Shore Road were “well alight,” the fire service said.

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From Belfast Telegraph