Northern Ireland news

£332,000 allocated to help Mournes recover following wild fire

The fire in the Mournes wreaked destruction in April and took firefighters several days to extinguish. Picture by Declan Roughan
Rebecca Black, PA

Over £330,000 has been allocated to aid the recovery of the Mourne Mountains following a major wild fire earlier this year.

The blaze wreaked destruction in April and took firefighters several days to extinguish.

Environment Minister Edwin Poots visited the area today.

Mr Poots said the funding will go towards future planning, survey and monitoring, stakeholder engagement, purchase of equipment and habitat management works associated with the fire.

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“I visited the Mournes in April 2021, the day after the fire took hold and could see the devastation it had caused to the extensive wildlife and biodiversity in the area,” he said.

“The pictures we all saw in the news in the following days, were very upsetting and thankfully our firefighters got the blaze under control.

“Over three months later, the scars of that weekend are still visible on these mountains, but I am encouraged to see some healing as well.

“Some plants and vegetation have sprung back to life and I have no doubt, that this fund, as well as the expertise of those in the National Trust, will help nurse the mountain back to health in the future.”

Mr Poots urged everyone to protect the natural environment.

“Wildfires hurt the natural environment, threaten lives and livelihoods and can obliterate the local wildlife,” he said.

“Of course, they are rarely a natural occurrence and are almost always started deliberately or recklessly.

“It is everyone’s responsibility to protect our natural environment, seeing it quite literally go up in smoke is utterly devastating.”

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