Environment Minister, Alex Attwood, today highlighted the potential danger of gorse fires over the long Bank Holiday weekend.
He has warned the public to take care and not cause an unintentional fire in the countryside and to help by reporting any fires they see.
Alex Attwood said: “The recent spell of warm dry weather has seen an increase in the number of fires in the countryside. Because it is a Bank Holiday weekend there will be more people enjoying the outdoors. Even if there is a lot of rain this weekend, the ground will still be hard and still conducive to gorse fires.
“I want everyone to enjoy our wonderful countryside in safety. Wildfires can quickly get out of control, spread rapidly, change direction and are extremely dangerous. Take care not to spark a fire yourself and if you suspect anyone of deliberately starting a fire contact PSNI.”
Given the extent and severity of wildfires in 2011, a number of organisations including the Northern Ireland Fire & Rescue Service, the Environment Agency, Forest Service, the Ulster Farmers Union and landscape partnerships are working together to reduce the risk and impact of wildfires.