Northern Ireland’s Mourne Mountains ablaze as gorse fire sweeps across

A huge wildfire has engulfed the Mourne Mountains in Northern Ireland.

More than 70 fire fighters and a dozen appliances have been sent to battle the blaze on the country’s highest peak, Slieve Donard.

It’s thought the fire might have been started deliberately.

Teams are struggling to hold the inferno because of the difficult terrain.

It’s hard to play water across the seat of the fire and teams are handling heat and exhaustion.

Wildlife is also being seriously compromised by the fire.

Mark Smith, wildlife lead for the Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service (NIFRS) said:

“It’s incredible the damage that’s being done here. Our wildlife has been seriously impacted.

“It’s a very, very large area… we’re still measuring the exact size of it… but at present, there will be a large impact on the environment and eco-systems in this area.”

It’s been one of the driest Aprils on record and experts believe the fire was started deliberately.

Assistant Chief Fire Officer Aidan Jennings said:

“My experience over many years in the Fire and Rescue Service is that very few of these fires start outside human activity so my expectation is we will find this was a deliberate fire.”

“I would appeal to the public, landowners and all, to work with us to prevent that.”

About the Author

Philip Braund spent 16 years at the Daily Mirror as a reporter and news editor before moving to ITV. He was the series producer of the ground-breaking investigation programme The Cook Report, Managing Editor at ITV’s Millbank Studios, and Head of News at ITV Central. He has won national and regional Royal Television Society awards for documentaries.