Alliance South Down representative Patrick Brown has appealed to people to stay away from the Mourne Mountains and Newcastle to allow firefighters to continue to tackle the major fire in the Slieve Donard area.
The operation to tackle the blaze, on the lower slopes of Slieve Donard, the Glen River Valley and Thomas Mountain continues. Councillor Brown said local residents had been left without information on the ongoing incident.
“My thanks go to the firefighters involved in tackling this blaze. The scenes have shocked and saddened people across Northern Ireland,” said Councillor Brown.
“I appeal to people to stay away from the Mournes and indeed Newcastle this weekend, to allow that operation to continue. The Mournes is a shining jewel in the local tourist crown and I hope the damage caused to local wildlife and biodiversity is not too severe, allowing them to recover quickly.
“I have spoken to Newcastle residents, many of whom feel scared and frustrated by this ongoing incident due to growing nature of the fire and the risk something like this may happen again if proper protections are not put in place.
“More can be done to protect the area and ensure residents feel safe and secure. I will be appealing to Council and other agencies to see what additional steps we can take to protect the Mournes and Newcastle residents after this incident.”