Major incident declared as 130 firefighters tackle gorse fires in Tyrone and Antrim

The Northern Ireland Fire and Service (NIFRS) has declared a major incident due to a number of ongoing gorse fires in Clogher, Co Tyrone and Glenariff, Co Antrim.
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Over 130 firefighters are battling these blazes as other crews continue to deal with smaller gorse fires and emergency incidents right across the province.

There are currently over 80 firefighters, 10 fire appliances, one high volume pump and specialist wildfire officers at the gorse fire on the Ballyemon Road, Glenariff and 50 firefighters, four fire appliances, a water tanker, a high volume pump and a Command Support Unit in attendance at a gorse fire on Corleaghan Road, Clogher.

NIFRS Assistant Chief Fire and Rescue Officer Aidan Jennings said: “Our firefighters are working in challenging and exhausting conditions this evening in bringing two sizable gorse fires under control in Glenariff and Clogher.

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We have dedicated substantial resources to these incidents from right across Northern Ireland.

"This coupled with other ongoing incidents has resulted in a major Incident being declared this evening. I expect these incidents to continue across the evening and into tomorrow.

“I want to reassure the public that contingency plans are in place. We will continue to respond should you need us in an emergency. However I am appealing for the public to support us during this critical time. Please avoid the areas where incidents are ongoing.

"Please act safely, be responsible and be vigilant when it comes to enjoying the countryside and good weather this evening and over the coming days. Please pay heed to our safety advice as conditions are ripe for more gorse fires to take hold. These types of incidents are extremely resource intensive and challenging for our firefighters and we need your support.”

NIFRS is reminding everyone of the following safety advice:

  • Extinguish cigarettes and other smoking materials properly;
  • Never throw cigarette ends out of car windows;
  • Only use barbecues in designated and safe areas and never leave them unattended. Keep children and ball games away from barbecues;
  • Ensure that barbecues are fully extinguished and cold before disposing of their contents;
  • Avoid using open fires in the countryside;
  • Do not leave bottles or glass in woodlands. Sunlight shining through glass can start a fire. Take them home or put them in a waste or recycling bin;
  • If you see a fire in the countryside, report it immediately to the Fire & Rescue Service. Don’t attempt to tackle fires that will take more than a bucket of water to put out. Leave the area as soon as possible;
  • Report any suspicious behaviour to the police
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