Belfast Telegraph

Pictured: Mourne Mountains fire 'suspicious', say police

Firefighters tackle a blaze at the foot of the Mourne Mountains close to Tullymore Forest Park in Newcastle on April 21st 2019 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)
Firefighters tackle a blaze at the foot of the Mourne Mountains close to Tullymore Forest Park in Newcastle on April 21st 2019 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)
Firefighters tackle a blaze at the foot of the Mourne Mountains close to Tullymore Forest Park in Newcastle on April 21st 2019 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)
Firefighters tackle a blaze at the foot of the Mourne Mountains close to Tullymore Forest Park in Newcastle on April 21st 2019 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)
Firefighters tackle a blaze at the foot of the Mourne Mountains close to Tullymore Forest Park in Newcastle on April 21st 2019 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)
Firefighters tackle a blaze at the foot of the Mourne Mountains close to Tullymore Forest Park in Newcastle on April 21st 2019 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)
Firefighters tackle a blaze at the foot of the Mourne Mountains close to Tullymore Forest Park in Newcastle on April 21st 2019 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)

Police have said they are treating a major gorse fire in the Mourne Mountains as suspicious.

More than 50 firefighters tackled the blaze close to the Tullybrannigan Road near Tollymore Forest Park on Sunday night.

Around 200 guests at the nearby Bonny's Caravan Park, as well as residents living at Tullybrannigan Road, were forced to evacuate as eight fire appliances and a water tanker were dispatched to the scene.

The fire front was a mile long and the blaze spread rapidly due to high winds.

The Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service (NIFRS) said the fire was brought under control by Monday afternoon.

A PSNI spokesperson said that, following an assessment by the NIFRS, the blaze is being treated as suspicious and detectives are investigating.

Sinn Féin South Down MP Chris Hazzard said: “The large wildfire in Tollymore Forest Park was over a mile long and took more than 50 firefighters to bring it under control.

“200 people had to be evacuated from a nearby caravan park where they were staying for the Easter holidays and I’m sure it  must have been a terrifying experience for them.

“I’d like to commend the efforts of the firefighters and the Fire and Rescue Service for their work in tackling this blaze and thankfully no one was injured."

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