Sinn Féin Councillor Mickey Larkin has condemned those responsible for starting gorse fires especially at a time when emergency services are under huge pressure due to the coronavirus outbreak.
The recent spell of dry weather has meant that gorse and woodland are very dry and are vulnerable to fires started maliciously or through some other accidental or natural way.
The Slieve Gullion area Councillor made his comments as six fire engines, 46 firefighters and a water tanker have been deployed to the scene of an ongoing gorse fire incident at Carrickbroad Road, Killeavy.
The local Councillor said: “The fire has now been burning for several days. The Fire & Rescue Service have said it appeared at this stage that the blaze had been started deliberately.
“This is a disgrace and those who have started this gorse fire should be ashamed of themselves.
“Not only do these reckless actions put lives at risk, but they are also diverting the vital resources of the emergency services at this crucial time”.
“Dealing with this and other such incidents have drawn much needed resources away from where they are needed most, protecting our community”.
Councillor Larkin added: “I would urge everyone to be aware of the dangers these fires can pose and to report them as soon as they are spotted, don’t assume somebody else will or already has”.