Belfast Telegraph

Number of gorse fires in Northern Ireland reaches 600

By Staff Reporter

Firefighters have tackled close to 1,000 gorse fires since the start of April - 600 in the last week alone, the NI Fire and Rescue Service has said.

The statistic was revealed as fire crews tackled reports of two separate gorse fires in Co Down within a day of each other - one on the outskirts of Clough on Tuesday evening and the latest last night in Helen's Bay.

NIFRS Group Commander Mark Smyth subsequently warned the public to follow fire safety advice as the heightened risk of wildfires would persist as Northern Ireland continues to bask in the July heatwave.

During 2017-18 NIFRS responded to 2,072 gorse fires, representing a 27% increase from the previous year.

From the start of the current financial year, fire crews have already attended 934 gorse fire incidents.

"These fires can easily spread and even a slight change in wind direction can pose a serious risk to life, property and the environment," said Mr Smyth.

Belfast Telegraph

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