NIFRS crews called to 665 gorse fires in just over a week

The hot, dry weather has sparked a huge increase in call-outs for the Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service (NIFRS), with crews having to respond to more than 660 gorse fires in just over a week.

Thursday, 5th July 2018, 6:47 pm
Updated Monday, 16th July 2018, 5:11 pm
A firefighter tackling a gorse fire. (Archive pic)

According to Assistant Chief Fire & Rescue Officer Alan Walmsley, between 8am on June 27 and 8am on July 5, the NIFRS Regional Control Centre dealt with 2,758 calls and firefighters “mobilised to 1,456 incidents including 665 gorse related incidents.”

Indeed, the fire service saw a 45% increase in calls received on Wednesday, July 4, compared to the same day the previous week.

The NIFRS has said it has experienced “a significant increase in operational activity in recent days due to the exceptional hot weather and large number of gorse fires.”

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“Our well-rehearsed contingency arrangements are currently in place with our Command Room operational in order to monitor and maintain emergency cover across Northern Ireland,” Mr Walmsley explained.

“All necessary operational personnel from across the organisation are available to deal with the demands of the current conditions. We have additional appliances and crews on standby for deployment as and when required.”

Mr Walmsley praised firefighters for their efforts battling gorse fires in intense heat and extremely challenging conditions, and he appealed to the public to help reduce the number of fires and related incidents.

“We urge everyone within the community to remain vigilant when in the countryside. If you see a fire report it immediately to the Fire & Rescue Service,” he added.