Carnmoney Hill fire ‘started deliberately’

Carnmoney Hill gorse fire. Pic by Tom Irwin.
Carnmoney Hill gorse fire. Pic by Tom Irwin.

Firefighters were tasked to deal with a deliberate gorse fire on Carnmoney Hill on the evening of Sunday, May 7.

The blaze was reported to members of the Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service (NIFRS) at 9:19pm.

Carnmoney Hill gorse fire.

Carnmoney Hill gorse fire.

Commenting on the incident, a NIFRS spokesperson said: “Firefighters dealt with 400 square meters of gorse on fire using beaters – deliberate ignition. Due to falling light the fire was allowed to burn out. The incident was dealt with at 11:15pm.”

The Times understands that the Glengormley full-time crew were not in attendance as they were in Enniskillen standing by, providing cover for Enniskillen, as all their crews were at a gorse fire in Fivemiletown.

Figures released by NIFRS on May 8 detailed how since May 1, firefighters across Northern Ireland had attended 511 gorse fires, of which 466 were started deliberately.

NIFRS reminded everyone that dealing with these types of incidents puts not only firefighters’ lives at risk, but the lives of everyone in the community and puts additional pressure on operational resources.

Area Commander Maurice Rafferty said: “We’re appealing to everyone to remain vigilant when in the countryside. If you see a fire, report it immediately to NIFRS. Don’t attempt to tackle fires and leave the area as soon as possible.

“Deliberate fire setting has major consequences - it ties up our vital resources from other more serious incidents and potentially puts people and property at risk. These fires can easily spread and even a slight change in wind direction can pose a serious risk to life, property and the environment. If anyone has any information in relation to fire setting we would urge them to contact the PSNI. I’d like to thank our crews who have worked under hazardous conditions and intense heat to bring the fires under control.”