THE Fire Service has urged people not to start fires after they had to deal with two gorse fires in Tyrone in the space of two days.
A small area close to Greencastle was engulfed in flames on Friday night, while on Wednesday night, a gorse fire was deliberately started at the scenic Pigeon Top area overlooking Omagh town.
Five firefighters attended the fire close to Greencastle around 7.05pm on Friday night where around 10 acres of land was on fire. The incident was dealt with around 9.30pm.
Just two days before this, a fire appliance from Dromore Fire Station attended the incident at Pigeon Top which arose late on Wednesday evening. It is believed to have been started deliberately.
In this instance, there were unconfirmed reports that someone was seen getting off a motorbike, lighting the fire and then riding off again.
Between March 30 last and April 21, the NIFRS say that they attended 300 incidents involving grassland and/or gorse across the North.
Last week, major infernos threatened houses in the Loughmacrory area, while fire fighters had to battle for hours to ensure that a blaze on the Barony Road at Mountfield was preventing from reaching a recycling plant.
NIFRS Group Commander Mark Smith urged people not to start fires at this time.
He said, “At this present time, we do not need people lighting BBQS or burning rubbish.
“Across the North, we have had around 120 calls in the past few days.
“It has been a very busy period for us.
“We are outside the controlled burning season so people should not be burning.
“It really does put us under a lot of pressure which we do not need.”
Omagh Alliance councillor, Stephen Donnelly, who lives in Clanabogan, says that, while fires on Pigeon Top are rare, they have the potential to cause serious damage.
“Fires on Pigeon Top are normally only witnessed about once a year and but a large scale one would obviously be of massive concern and as a resident of Clanabogan, I am grateful that this one was prevented from spreading.”