16 June 2023
Northern Ireland Fire & Rescue Service (NIFRS) is no longer in Major Incident status, and has resumed normal operational response across the province following an extremely busy three days of wildfires and other emergency incidents.
From 2pm 14 June until 2pm on 16 June, NIFRS received 716 emergency calls and attended 318 incidents, with 96 of these being wildfire incidents. Over 500 Fire Appliances including Specialist Appliances were mobilised to deal with these incidents.
The largest of these incidents was the wildfire at Ballyemon Road, Glenariff, Co Antrim which NIFRS was first called to at 1.56pm on Wednesday 14 June. Resources at Glenariff have been scaled down this afternoon; however over 51 Firefighters, 8 Officers, 8 Fire Appliances, and 5 Specialist Appliances remain at this incident.
Northern Ireland Fire & Rescue Service (NIFRS) Interim Chief Fire & Rescue Officer Andy Hearn said:
“Our Firefighters have been working in extremely challenging and exhausting conditions during this Major Incident to bring these wildfires under control. I would like to thank our Firefighters for their exceptional work and commitment, working in intense conditions, in challenging terrain. I’d also like to pay tribute to the many others across the organisation who have been working tirelessly behind the scenes to support the operational response, including our personnel in our Regional Control Centre and Support Staff.
“I would like to send our sincere thanks to our Partner Agencies, Northern Ireland Water, Forestry Service Northern Ireland, Northern Ireland Environment Agency, Skywatch NI, the Red Cross, Rapid Relief Team, the PSNI, and the Irish Air Corps who have supported our response. We are heartened and grateful for the support of our local community and the generosity in providing refreshments. Their support has been invaluable.
“I would also like to thank the public for supporting us during this critical time and ask that they continue to avoid areas where incidents are still ongoing. Please act safely, be responsible and vigilant when it comes to enjoying the countryside and follow our safety advice.”
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.