15 June 2023
The Northern Ireland Fire & Rescue Service (NIFRS) major incident status remains in place following a second day of gorse fires, as well as ongoing attendance at the incident in Glenariff, Co Antrim. Resources at Glenariff have been scaled down this evening, however, there remain over 35 Firefighters, 6 Fire Appliances, 1 High Volume Pump, 1 Command Support Unit and Specialist Wildfire Officers at the gorse fire on the Ballyemon Road, Glenariff and it is anticipated that resourcing will increase again at first light on 16 June.
Our Firefighters also continue to deal with a number of smaller gorse fires and emergency incidents across Northern Ireland.
Across the period of 14 June until 11pm on 15 June, NIFRS received 650 emergency calls and mobilised to 266 incidents, with 80 of these being wildfire incidents. NIFRS has mobilised 496 firefighting pumps and specialist appliances to deal with these incidents and we have been working across this period with our partner agencies including teams from the PSNI, Northern Ireland Water, Forestry Service Northern Ireland, Skywatch NI, the Red Cross, Rapid Relief Team and the Irish Air Corps.
Northern Ireland Fire & Rescue Service (NIFRS) Assistant Chief Fire & Rescue Officer Aidan Jennings said:
“Our Firefighters have been working in extremely challenging and exhausting conditions whilst battling to bring these wildfires under control. I would like to pay credit to our Firefighters, Control Room Operators, Supervisory Officers and Support Staff, all of whom have responded and in many cases come on duty or remained on duty to support our operational response and enhanced resilience arrangements. I would like also to recognise our Partner Agencies who have supported our response.
“I again want to reassure the public that our contingency plans remain in place and we will continue to respond should you need us in an emergency. I would like to thank the public for supporting us during this critical time. Please continue to avoid the areas where incidents are ongoing. Please act safely, be responsible and vigilant when it comes to enjoying the countryside and continuing good weather over the coming days. Please pay heed to our safety advice as conditions remain ripe for more gorse fires to take hold.”
NIFRS is reminding everyone of the following safety advice:
* Extinguish cigarettes and other smoking materials properly.
* Never throw cigarette ends out of car windows.
* Only use barbecues in designated and safe areas and never leave them unattended. Keep children and ball games away from barbecues.
* Ensure that barbecues are fully extinguished and cold before disposing of their contents.
* Avoid using open fires in the countryside.
* Do not leave bottles or glass in woodlands. Sunlight shining through glass can start a fire. Take them home or put them in a waste or recycling bin.
* If you see a fire in the countryside, report it immediately to the Fire & Rescue Service. Don’t attempt to tackle fires that will take more than a bucket of water to put out. Leave the area as soon as possible.
* Report any suspicious behaviour to the Police.