Fire-fighters in Donegal battle for over 5 hours at gorse fire overnight

People have been urged to be vigilant in the wake of two emergency operations sparked by gorse fires in Derry and Inishowen this week.

By Brendan McDaid
Thursday, 31st March 2022, 3:52 pm

On Monday, Fire & Rescue squads were tasked to a gorse fire at the Altagarron Road area of Claudy on the outskirts of Derry.

A total of eight fire appliances with specialist wildfire equipment were deployed as people were urged to avoid the area while the blaze was brought under control.

Then on Wednesday night at around 9pm, Inishowen fire brigades from Moville, Carndonagh and Buncrana were tasked to a large gorse fire at Upper Carrowhugh between Greencastle and Stroove.

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The gorse fire near Stroove on Wednesday night. (Photo: Owen Anderson)

The fires came just days after government departments and fire fighters north and south elevated warnings over the potential for large fires following on from the recent spell of dry and sunny weather.

Moville Councillor Martin Farren said that the three squads tackling the fire in the region worked for between five and six hours into yesterday morning to bring the blaze under control and prevent it spreading to property.

“Thankfully no-one was injured and there was no loss of property,” he said, while adding: “This was quite a large and dangerous fire. I would ask people to be very careful and very vigilant during the dry spells. It takes very little to set a gorse fire off and I would urge anyone who notices such fires to dial 999.

“I want to thank the Fire Service personnel for getting there as quickly as they did and dealing with the situation. We are very lucky to have such people in our communities.”

Colr. Farren said that not only do such fires put the lives of fire fighters and local people at risk as well as property, but they also tie up resources. “I dread to think what would happen in such a situation if there was road traffic collision or a house fire elsewhere,” he said. “These types of gorse fires can be preventable if people are careful and extinguish anything that they may have lit properly.”

A status orange warning for gorse fires was issued by the government in the Republic earlier this week. Similarly in the north, the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA), NI Fire & Rescue Service and the PSNI advised visitors to rural areas as well as residents to be vigilant for wildfires and to not light any fires in the countryside.

Group Commander Mark Smyth, NIFRS, said: “Dealing with wildfires unnecessarily draws our resources away from where they are needed most - protecting our community. They also cause significant damage to wildlife and the environment.”

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Reports of large fire tonight in north Inishowen, Donegal