28/06/2018

Firefighters Continuing To Battle Major Gorse Fire

Firefighters are continuing to tackle an ongoing major gorse fire on the Glenshane Pass in County Londonderry.

According to reports, fire crews are being taken to the site, which is in a remote part of the Sperrins near Dungiven, by helicopter. A Command Support Unit and four appliances are also at the scene.

It is understood that Northern Ireland Fire & Rescue Service (NIFRS) have said that the fire is believed to have been caused by "some sort of human error".

The fire, which is said to be approximately one mile long, with three main seats, was first reported just before 5am on Wednesday morning.

The Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) have urged visitors to rural areas as well as residents to be vigilant for wildfires.

With the weekend approaching, the summer holidays just round the corner and schools closing there will be an expected increase in members of the public taking this opportunity to explore the countryside,

Wildfires are not natural, they are almost always started by humans either deliberately or through carelessness. They put lives at risk, destroy our surroundings and the wildlife in them, and are a real cost to society.
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Members of the public visiting the countryside should take particular precautions so as not to accidentally start / cause wildfires through their activities.

Under the current conditions, any ignition source in hazardous fuels may give rise to wildfire development and spread, particularly in areas with dead grasses, gorse, forestry and heather and, can cover extensive areas in a very short period of time and may be hazardous to human life and wildlife.

Please heed the following advice:

If you are in the countryside:

• Extinguish cigarettes and other smoking materials properly

• Never throw cigarette ends out of car windows

• Only use barbecues in designated areas and never leave them unattended;

• 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 behind - sunlight shining through glass can start a fire;

• Be considerate in parking vehicles so as not to impede access by emergency vehicles.

If you see a fire:

• If you see a fire in the countryside, report it immediately to the Fire & Rescue Service;

• Do not attempt to tackle fires that cannot be put out with a bucket of water;

• Leave the area as soon as possible;

• If you see someone setting fires, report it to the PSNI.

(MH)

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