Newry.ie

With fires continuing on Slieve Gullion into the fifth day, the Irish Air Corp were today called in to assist the NI Fire and Rescue Service and other agencies. Two helicopters were supplied after NIFRS requested assistance with the deep seated fire which has continued to devestate the mythical mountain.  

One helicopter was deployed scooping water from Camlough Lake at 3 or 4 minute intervals throughout the day while the other one provided air observation. The helicopter had to return to base at least twice to refuel before continuing with the mission.

An Air Corp helicopter drops water on the Slieve Gullion blaze. Photograph: Columba O'Hare/ Newry.ie
An Air Corp helicopter drops water on the Slieve Gullion blaze. Photograph: Columba O'Hare/ Newry.ie

Late this afternoon fire crews were spraying foam on the boundry of at least one property at Ballintemple Road to prevent the fire spreading, while simultaneously the Air Corp helicopter dropped water on the blaze.

Several appliances, specialist Wildfire Resources and all-terrain vehicles are currently at the scene of the blaze. A NIFRS spokesperson commented "The gorse fire covers an area of approximately 100 acres and is encroaching upon an area of special scientific interest. This is a deep-seated fire and has been challenging due to the difficulty in accessing the seats of fire, the direction and strength of the wind and the continuing dry weather conditions which have led to recurrent re-ignition.

A fire crew sprays foam close to a property on Ballintemple Road. Photograph: Columba O'Hare/ Newry.ie
A fire crew sprays foam close to a property on Ballintemple Road. Photograph: Columba O'Hare/ Newry.ie

“We are working alongside the Forest Service and the Mourne Heritage Trust to extinguish the fire and prevent it spreading further into the forest.

Watching the operation to get the Slieve Gullion fires under control. Photograph: Columba O'Hare/ Newry.ie
Watching the operation to get the Slieve Gullion fires under control. Photograph: Columba O'Hare/ Newry.ie

“We are using drones to help us with command and control of the incident and would appeal to the public not to fly drones in this area which hampers our response."

NIFRS are presently dealing with around 85 gorse fires a day throughout the province and have asked the public to remain vigilant and report any gorse fires immediately to them.

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