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Fire crews battle 24-hour Castlewellan gorse and forestry fire

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NIFRS at the scene of a large gorse fire in Castlewellan.

NIFRS at the scene of a large gorse fire in Castlewellan.

NIFRS at the scene of a large gorse fire in Castlewellan.

Fire crews are fighting a "significant" wildfire incident involving gorse and forestry in Co Down that has been ongoing for 24 hours.

The fire first broke out at 1.30pm on the Leitrim Road in Castlewellan.

Almost 50 Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service (NIFRS) personnel are in attendance at the incident, along with seven pumping appliances and specialist teams from high volume pump and rescue units.

NIFRS has appealed for people to stay away due to safety concerns.

South Down Sinn Fein MP Chris Hazzard commended the efforts of firefighters.

Sinn Féin MP Chris Hazzard has praised the efforts of firefighters tackling a wildfire in Castlewellan.

"The cause of the fire will be investigated but I would appeal to everyone to be careful and show caution in rural areas and not do anything that could cause a fire.

“Our emergency services are under enough pressure at this difficult time without having to deal with large wildfires.”

Local councillor Roisin Howell said: "I have been out with the firefighters involved in tackling this blaze and their quick actions have helped stop this fire from spreading.

"I would urge everyone to act to prevent forest fires at this time."

Meanwhile. the Leitrim Road has been closed between its junctions with the Bann Road and Bannanstown Road. Local diversions are in place.

Belfast Telegraph