13 May 2022
As warmer weather approaches next week, Northern Ireland Fire & Rescue Service (NIFRS) is calling on the public to do their part to prevent wildfires this summer.
Last year, NIFRS dealt with 1,965 wildfires, including the major incident in the Mourne Mountains, which lasted 3 days and involved over 100 Firefighters.
Group Commander Mark Smyth, NIFRS Wildfire Lead, said:
“Last year’s devastating scenes of the wildfires in the Mournes in April are all too fresh in our minds. Our Firefighters responded to almost 2,000 preventable wildfires across Northern Ireland last year taking our Firefighters away from local towns and communities, were they would be ready to respond when they are needed most.
“Responding to wildfires puts an added pressure on our service and our partner agencies who are frequently required to respond alongside NIFRS. It is gruelling work for our Firefighters as it takes us hours, and sometimes even days, to put wildfires out.
“I want to be clear – wildfires are completely avoidable and are caused by human activity. This can be through the misuse and careless use of fire in the countryside through barbeques, camping fires or smoking materials. However, more often than not these fires are being started deliberately with malicious intent. Deliberately setting a wildfire is a criminal offence, can be devastating to the environment and wildlife, and ultimately puts people’s lives at risk.”
“We want the public to enjoy our beautiful countryside and green spaces, but to do so responsibly and by following our safety advice. If you see someone deliberately setting a fire please report it immediately.
“The responsibility of preventing wildfires belongs to all of us and we all need to do our part. We are all safer when we work together.”