Call for vigilance as cause of two-mile belt of fire is probed

The fire brigade have warned of the damage caused by gorse fires after a major blaze in the Sperrins region of western Ulster. This image shows a previous gorse fire in the Belfast hills in 2015.
The fire brigade have warned of the damage caused by gorse fires after a major blaze in the Sperrins region of western Ulster. This image shows a previous gorse fire in the Belfast hills in 2015.

Firefighters have been forced to tackle a belt of fire two miles long in the west of the Province.

The fire brigade issued a statement on Friday morning saying that they had succeeded in tackling a large gorse fire at Stroanbrack, Dunnyboe – to the east of Strabane – the previous night.

Eight fire engines and about 45 firefighters attended, coming from Strabane, Castlederg, Omagh, Cookstown, Clogher, Crescent Link, Maghera and Newtownstewart.

It added: “Firefighters used beaters to deal with a two mile fire front in the area.”

The fire brigade first announced the fire at around 5pm.

The blaze was over by about 8.30pm, and the cause of it is still under investigation.”

Area Commander Randy McComb said: “Firefighters worked tirelessly in dealing with a large amount of gorse on fire in the area. Over 50 Firefighters were deployed to tackle the blaze and thankfully helped reduce the fire spreading.

“Tackling gorse fires undoubtedly puts an extra strain on NIFRS resources, both in terms of firefighters and equipment. As well as the impact on NIFRS resources, gorse fire causes environmental damage to wildlife and the natural habitat.

“The cause of this fire is still under investigation, but I would appeal to everyone to be vigilant and to report any suspicious behaviour or fires immediately.”