27/04/2007

Gorse fire may be 'malicious'

A major gorse fire on Black Mountain is thought to have been started maliciously, according to the Fire and Rescue Service.

Up to 50 acres of National Trust land was destroyed in an overnight fire on the outskirts of Belfast.

Three fire crews worked for hours to deal with the blaze while four crews dealt with another incident where tyres were burning at Ligoneil.

Dermot McCann of the National Trust, said: “This is an ongoing set of malicious fires that have been lit on the mountain, and it has been ongoing since Easter.”

He added: “These fires can result in the loss of life, never mind habitat and animals on the site – we have cows on the property, it is an open farm, and we have about 25 horses as well.

“It is endangering everyone on the mountain – and it also puts the lives of the emergency services at risk. Depending on which way the wind goes, it can really get very bad very quickly.”

An investigation is due to be carried out today to establish whether the blaze was deliberate.

(JM/KMcA)

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