A “running wildfire” in the foothills of the Mourne Mountains in County Down has been brought under control.
More than 50 firefighters battled the blaze at Donard Forest on Sunday night into Monday morning.
The Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service (NIFRS) received a report that a fire had broken out at 20:30 BST on Sunday.
The fire front was a mile long and a total of eight appliances were at the scene.
Guests at Bonny’s Caravan Park, near to the fire, were evacuated but have since been allowed to return, according to NIFRS group commander, Eddie Carroll.
“There was a running wildfire and it was nearly a mile fire front which was bearing across the hillside. The fire was rapidly spreading due to wind conditions,” he told BBC’s Good Morning Ulster programme.
“We use a term in the fire and rescue service called crowning, when the fire was jumping across the top of these very high areas of gorse, and the fire was moving at a very rapid rate, and our crews were concerned when they were trying to deal with this.
“That then presents very serious difficulties for us because the fire is very high up and it can spread very quickly.”
Residents of Tullybrannigan Road were also among those forced to leave their homes and several buses were brought in to help with the evacuation.
The Newcastle Centre, a Council-run leisure centre in the County Down town, was opened for those evacuated.
More than 200 people were at the centre, according to the NIFRS, most of whom were staying at Bonny’s Caravan Park.
Mats were set up in some of the rooms to allow for overnight stays.
Jim Beattie, who was on Tullybrannigan Road when the fire broke out and has a caravan in Bonny’s Caravan Park, said the fire had spread so quickly it was “unbelievable”.
“It was at the edge of the house here when it diverted and there are at least five fire crews here that I can see and they are starting to evacuate the homes,” he said.
“We don’t know where people are being told to go.
“There is no sense of panic but residents are naturally concerned and haven’t been told where to go, simply to get out. It is really raging now.”
Mr Carroll said it was too early to determine the cause of the fire.
“The vast majority of gorse fires are started deliberately. We would ask the public to be vigilant when out and about in the countryside, especially over the Easter weekend and the good weather.”