Who's at fault for the fires in the Mournes?
(by Clif Grant)
'This Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty has been completely destroyed and will take years to recover.' (National Trust)
Huge gorse fires raged across the Mourne mountains these past few days, causing horrifying damage.
The tradition of local animal farmers maliciously setting fire to gorse to prompt new growth for livestock (mainly sheep) has been going on since I was a young child. This ‘scorched earth’ approach is absolutely devastating for the environment and wildlife alike. It may be fast and effective to set the entire area ablaze, but as Billy Flynn of the Irish Wildlife Association explains, 'manually cutting gorse at the right time of year is best practice.[...] Burning gorse bushes means a reduction in grassland areas, and is an absolutely unsuitable and extreme measure to what are sensitive, delicate habitats to begin with.'
Almost ALL gorse fires are caused by farmers. Fact!
As fire sweeps across open land it adds hares, birds, badgers, foxes, frogs, mice, beetles and trees to the list of victims. This is the breeding season and the fires will be cataclysmic for populations of upland birds, who are already so vulnerable.
Rest in peace all the innocents who suffered in this abomination.