Mourne blaze stretches for two-miles across mountain

Footage has emerged of what appears to be large part of the Hen Mountain near Hilltown, completely ablaze. Credit: Kieran Murray

By Jim O'Hagan

Firefighters responded to a fire on the Mourne Mountains on Tuesday evening.

Footage of the incident showed a fire stretching across the face of Hen Mountain near Hilltown.

It comes after three fires on Belfast's Cave Hill and Black Mountain in the space of 24 hours early this week.

The Fire and Rescue Service's Wildfire lead Mark Smyth said: "There are two seats of fire, one is on the Hen and Cock Mountain and the other is on the Spelga mountain. There is an approximate two-mile fire front on the Hen and Cock which is a fairly large fire and roughly 30 to 40 acres on Spelga."

"We will have colleagues watching the fire all night plan to have six pumps ready tomorrow morning at 7am to battle the blaze if it's still ignited. That's the best time for us to do that as the morning dew helps as well."

While it is unclear what has caused the blaze on the Mournes, it is common for fires to be set deliberately at this time of year in order to maximise the potential for grazing land for cattle and sheep.

One local said that the fire "appears to have been set in several different places" and that the "flames have completely engulfed the entire mountain".

The timing of the blaze coincides with the beginning of many bird species' nesting periods and the emergence of insects in time for the Spring equinox.