15/04/2014

Firefighters Attend 2,000 Gorse Fires In Past Year

The Northern Ireland Fire Service attended over 2,000 gorse fires over the past year, with firefighters attending 387 gorse fires in the first 7 days of April 2013 alone.

The Fire Service has released its 2013/14 statistics ahead of the Easter holidays and the coming drier weather, as it warned of "the extreme dangers and serious consequences of deliberate fire setting in the countryside."

It said gorse fires "remain a community problem" and traditionally spike over the Easter holiday period.

Dale Ashford, Assistant Chief Fire Officer, said: "Dealing with these types of incidents puts not only firefighters' lives at risk but the lives of everyone in the local community and puts additional pressure on NIFRS resources. People need to realise that we simply cannot be in two places at once and fighting gorse fires mean that fire appliances and firefighters are diverted from other potentially life threatening emergency incidents in the local community.

"While the majority of gorse fires that we attend are started deliberately they can also start unintentionally by thoughtless and careless behaviour. We would ask that people be vigilant when out and about during the Easter break for anyone starting fires deliberately and any suspicious behaviour should be reported to the police immediately."

(IT/MH)

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