Belfast Telegraph

Fire crews battle 20 acre gorse fire on Belfast's Cave Hill

Firefighters battled another large gorse fire in Northern Ireland - the second this week.

Fire broke out on the Cave Hill Country Park on Wednesday evening just after 7pm and at one stage spanned an area of 20 acres.

One eyewitness said he saw two youths setting the fire but running off as he dashed toward them to try and put it out.

In the time it took him to to reach the seat of the fire, gorse bushes were ablaze and the wind was spreading the fire which had taken hold.

The man, who then called 999 immediately, had been out walking his dogs and condemned the actions of the two "brainless youths".

As well as two fire appliances and a Land Rover from the nearby Westland station, city council park rangers were sent to the the scene.

Fire crews pulled out of the area at around 10pm given the failing light and the difficulties in getting to the blaze. Between 20 to 30 metres were still ablaze.

Fire Service group commander Brian Stanfield said there was no threat to life. He said they had doused upwind of the fire and would maintain a watching brief.

He urged the public to vigilant in the dry weather and to dispose of barbecue and cigarettes properly around dry areas and to avoid lighting fires.

“The current spell of dry, sunny weather is providing a tinderbox landscape with conditions ripe for gorse fires to take hold," he said.

"We have already dealt with the first gorse fires of the year in the last number of weeks so we are appealing to the public, and young people in particular, to help us by acting responsibly."

DUP councillor Dale Pankhurst added: "Some morons about. Why light a fire on the side of a hill that could endanger your friends and family?

"Not content with destroying natural beauty on Cave Hill, these idiots are putting peoples’ lives and wildlife at risk. I’ll be liaising with park wardens and the PSNI to encourage them to increase patrols and catch those responsible."

The fire on the Cave Hill is the second in a week for the Fire Service after a gorse fire on Black Mountain on Monday.

Belfast Telegraph Digital

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