News

Slieve Gullion gorse fire finally put out

Tuesday, 17 July 2018

JUSTIN McNulty MLA has praised the cooperation between the Northern Ireland Fire Service, the Forestry Service and the Irish Air Corps in fighting the fires that raged around the Ring of Gullion over the last week.
The fire, which raged for over a week, was finally extinguished on Wednesday morning at 8.43am.
Last Tuesday members of the Irish Air Corps flew over the scene of the fire, pouring huge amounts of water from Carlingford Lough over the top of the fire in a bid to put it out.
A Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service confirmed to the Newry Democrat that, after the fire had been extinguished, the scene had been handed over to Forest Service.
Mr McNulty praised the actions of those who helped put the wildfire out.
“Local and regional Fire Fighters, members of the Forestry Service and the Irish Air Corps all collaborated bravely and tirelessly to extinguish the wild gorse fires that raged around the Ring of Gullion," he said.
“When I visited the scene of the biggest fires near Killeavy Old Church I was very impressed by the team work, the camaraderie and the tireless bravery of local firefighters, the Forestry Service and the Irish Air Corps. All involved worked together bravely and tirelessly striving to put the fires out. Working on dangerous mountainous terrain and in the sweltering heat, they finally succeeded after five days of relentless effort.
“The Irish Air Corps involvement was critical and by lifting more that 100 tonnes of water from Camlough Lake by helicopter and then dropping on the fires at several locations the flames were finally extinguished.
“Local people provided food and refreshments for the firefighters, and District Commander Podge McKeown asked that I convey their thanks.
“The ongoing drought has created the conditions that allow fires to rapidly spread and potentially destroy vast areas of our mountain sides and forestry. I would encourage people to be careful and vigilant to prevent any further wild fires from consuming our natural environment.
“I want to praise the brave efforts of our firefighters, the Forestry Service and the Irish Air Corps in putting out all the fires" Mr. McNulty said.
Mr McNulty's party colleague, Slieve Gullion Councillor Pete Byrne, also praised the efforts of the Fire and Rescue Service and the Irish Air Corps in their attempts to bring the Slieve Gullion gorse fire under control.
Cllr Byrne said: "I would like to place on record my own thanks and the thanks of the entire community to those involved in this cross border effort to bring the Slieve Gullion gorse fire under control.
“We should all be grateful to those who are working in difficult conditions to protect us and our environment.
“The swift response to our call for assistance from the Air Rescue Co-ordination Centre is reportedly having a positive impact with 90,000 litres of water being dropped by the Irish Air Corps. While the images coming from Slieve Gullion are spectacular I would call on local people to be vigilant.
“I would urge anyone availing themselves of local hill and mountain areas, to exercise extreme care and caution. We must continue to follow advice from the Fire and Rescue Service to help prevent gorse fires."

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