Hundreds of gorse fires prompt call for those involved to consider consequences
Police have urged those involved in a spate of gorse fires in Northern Ireland to consider the consequences of their actions.
More than 250 fires have been reported across the country since May 1, with most believed to have been set deliberately, the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) said.
The warning comes after families were forced to evacuate their homes on Friday night in Newry, Co Down, as the fire service tackled a nearby blaze.
Some 60 firefighters worked to bring the fire, thought to have been started deliberately, under control near residential houses on Barley Lane and St Mary's high school, Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service said.
Fire service group commander Brian Stanfield said it had attended more than 160 incidents between 6pm and 11pm on Friday.
PSNI Superintendent Emma Bond said: "Since May 1 we have seen almost 250 fires across the country with the majority, we believe, having been set deliberately.
"Gorse fires have the potential to cause widespread damage to the environment and harm to wildlife, as well as threatening homes, farms and the people living in those areas.
"The unpredictability of fire can also mean that those setting them may be putting their own lives at risk as well as the lives of the fire service personnel and other emergency services tasked to deal with them."
Police have appealed for anyone with information to contact them on 101.