Belfast Telegraph

Fire Service continues to battle Glenshane blaze as farmers warned payments could go up in smoke

By Michael Sheils McNamee

Firefighters in County Londonderry are continuing to battle a blaze in the Glenshane Pass area.

The fire outside of the Dungiven first reported early on Wednesday morning and has been greatly reduced in size.

The extensive gorse fire has impacted an area near to Ireland's highest pub the Ponderosa.

Earlier this week firefighters had to return to base after walking for an hour to reach the fire to avoid the risk of heat exhaustion in the high temperatures.

At its largest, the fire was around one mile in length and consisted on five separate blazes.

On Twitter on Friday, a PSNI spokesperson said the fire was almost out and that Northern Ireland's Fire and Rescue Service were continuing to carry out monitoring.

The crew is accompanied by the Police Search and Rescue team.

With the emergency response in its third day, the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DEARA) has warned farmers impacted by gorse fires could potentially lose out on hefty EU payments.

In a statement on Friday, DEARA warned payments under some schemes could be impacted if a farmer's land is damaged by gorse burning.

Farmers are advised to contact the Department within 15 working days of the incident to be considered for 'force majeure' - where the land had become ineligible as a result of a gorse fire and the circumstances of the fire were unpredicable.

Area-based schemes covers a range of payments for farmers in Northern Ireland provided for under the EU's Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). 

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