Firefighters called to blaze at beauty spot

Firefighters on the scene of Sunday's blaze at Brackagh Moss Nature Reserve.
Firefighters on the scene of Sunday's blaze at Brackagh Moss Nature Reserve.
  • Grass and woodlands on fire
  • Nature lover contacts the ‘Times’
  • Two light burns over a very small area

Firefighters were called to deal with an unexplained blaze at a Portadown beauty spot on Sunday afternoon.

The Fire and Rescue Service attended a fire at Brackagh Moss Nature Reserve shortly before 4pm.

What happened is a pity because it is a beautiful place and a lot of people, like myself, use it for walks

Firefighters from the Portadown Station were called to the reserve, near the Tandragee Road, where they located a grassland fire.

A spokesperson for the Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service said, “The crew were called to the scene at 3:49pm on Sunday and found grass and woodlands on fire.”

The cause of the fire is not known, but firefighters brought the situation under control very quickly, returning to the station shortly afterwards.

“The crew returned to Portadown station at 4:15pm, having dealt with the fire by beating it out,” the spokesman continued. “We don’t know how it started - it could have been anything - but it does not seem to be anything major.”

A nature lover who contacted the Portadown Times about the fire, said it was not the first incident at Brackagh Moss in recent years.

“What happened is a pity because it is a beautiful place and a lot of people, like myself, use it for walks,” she said. “A lot of damage was caused by this fire and it happened even before it was declared a protection area.”

A DOE spokesperson confirmed that Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA) had investigated the incident, and emphasised the dangerous impact that fire can have on nature.

“Northern Ireland Environment Agency reports that there are two light burns over a very small area at separate ends of the grass path. It should be noted that fire can damage the life cycle of plants and animals, and can be harmful to rare and endangered insects which have eggs and larvae in the long grass.”

Brackagh Moss Nature Reserve stretches across 270 acres and is home to a variety of unusual species.

“In Brackagh Moss there are many rare moths and beetles, which are found on only a few other sites in Northern Ireland,” the DOE spokesperson explained. “NIEA asks the public to be vigilant and report any incidents of fires to the Fire and Rescue Service.”