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Crews have tackled 500 wildfires in less than a month

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The latest in an alarming number of incidents saw crews battle a "significant" wildfire involving gorse and forestry in Co Down for 24 hours

The latest in an alarming number of incidents saw crews battle a "significant" wildfire involving gorse and forestry in Co Down for 24 hours

The latest in an alarming number of incidents saw crews battle a "significant" wildfire involving gorse and forestry in Co Down for 24 hours

Fire crews have had to deal with more than 500 wildfires in less than a month, the Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service has revealed.

The latest in an alarming number of incidents saw crews battle a "significant" wildfire involving gorse and forestry in Co Down for 24 hours.

The fire first broke out at 1.30pm on Friday on the Leitrim Road in Castlewellan and has now been brought under control.

Mark Smith, NIFRS area commander, said almost 50 personnel had been involved along with seven pumping appliances and specialist teams from high volume pump and rescue units.

"The crews will be there for quite a few hours today just mopping up and putting plenty of water on it, hopefully to stop any reignition," he said.

"We've had over 500 incidents of wildfire, gorse-related vegetation-type fires across Northern Ireland.

"I would say that's probably two to three times busier than any other Aprils we've had.

"We don't have really natural wildfires in Northern Ireland. We normally have human intervention. I look at them as being deliberately lit."

Belfast Telegraph