Northern Ireland

NI Fire Service continues gorse fire battle

Fire fighters have spent another night battling gorse fires across Northern Ireland.

The Fire and Rescue Service said it dealt with 31 fires on Tuesday evening.

Two hundred personnel were involved in the operation.

Deputy chief fire officer Chris Kerr said rising wind conditions, with gusts of up to 50 mph at some stages, had hampered efforts.

"That has had a major impact," he said.

"Fires we thought were out have been rekindled and at those fires that are blazing across heathland and forestry it has made conditions much worse for our fire fighters."

There were gorse fires across NI over the bank holiday weekend - at one stage an average of one call every 45 seconds was being received.

By 2100 BST on Tuesday the fire service had received over 300 calls, predominantly concerning gorse fires.

BBC NI reporter Alexandra McKenzie visited one of the worst effected areas in Ballycastle on Tuesday afternoon.

She said that although fears the fire would spread to the Ballypatrick forest had not been realised, damage was nonetheless extensive.

"The fire has wiped out hundreds of acres of farmland. That will take years before it can be used again," she said.

The fire has now been brought under control and crews have been withdrawn.

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