First gorse fires of the year spark NIFRS gorse fire appeal
Northern Ireland Fire & Rescue Service (NIFRS) is warning people to think about the consequences of deliberate fire setting in the countryside and mountains.
Over the past 3 years, NIFRS has seen a 75% decrease in the number of gorse fires attended by Fire Crews.
While this reduction is encouraging, NIFRS warned there is no room for complacency and with the upsurge in gorse fire related call outs last week is appealing for people, especially young people, to be aware of the very serious consequences that deliberate fire setting in the countryside can have on the whole community.
Dale Ashford, Assistant Chief Fire Officer, Northern Ireland Fire & Rescue Service said, “Ironically, as snow still lies on some hillside areas across Northern Ireland, our Firefighters have been battling the first gorse fires of the year in other parts of the province.
“Last week alone our Regional Control Centre handled 548 emergency calls from across Northern Ireland, to deal with whins, gorse, hedges and grass on fire and Fire Crews attended 387 gorse fire related incidents.
“While the majority of these incidents were small and quickly dealt with, a number of these incidents required extra Firefighters and resources to bring the gorse fires under control.
“As the drier weather takes hold and we begin to see signs of spring, I’m asking the public a simple question – where do you want your Fire & Rescue Service over the coming months?
“In remote areas tackling deliberately set fires for hours on end – potentially leaving your community at risk or at your local Fire Station ready to deal with life threatening emergencies?
“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 2 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.
He added, “We have contingency plans in place to ensure continued emergency cover for towns and villages across Northern Ireland.
“It’s not just the larger fires on hillsides and mountains that impact upon resources, the smaller fires involving grass bushes also need to be dealt with quickly as they have the potential to spread and develop into bigger fires.”
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