We need your help now

Support from readers like you keeps The Journal open.

You are visiting us because we have something you value. Independent, unbiased news that tells the truth. Advertising revenue goes some way to support our mission, but this year it has not been enough.

If you've seen value in our reporting, please contribute what you can, so we can continue to produce accurate and meaningful journalism. For everyone who needs it.

Picture of the fires taken from Castelbar in Mayo last night via @louiseduffy_ via @louiseduffy_

Efforts to tackle Donegal gorse fires continue, as fires break out in Mayo, Galway and Down

The Irish Defence Forces carry out aerial assessment of west Donegal area hit by gorse fire, as NI crews tackle major fires in the Mourne Mountain region.

Updated 6.45pm

FIRE CREWS ARE still working to control bog, forest and gorse fire that have broken out in parts of Donegal, Down, Galway and Mayo.

MEP Pat the Cope Gallagher said earlier today that the gorse fire in West Donegal is “completely out of control” and that some of the firefighters had been on the ground tackling the blaze for 24 hours.

Three Irish Defence Forces helicopters have been involved in an aerial assessment of the area after a request from the local authorities in Donegal. One helicopter is involved in dropping loads of water onto the flames, RTÉ reports, and 50 troops have been deployed to Donegal and north-west Mayo to help fight the fires.

A spokesperson for the Department of Defence confirmed to that an assessment was being carried out by the Air Corp and an engineer from the Defence Forces which will determine what assistance is needed.

Donegal blaze

Fire services have been working to tackle a large gorse fire between Lettermacaward and Dungloe in West Donegal, where four houses have been evacuated.

The Donegal fire service said the blaze had been started maliciously and that the strong breeze and dry conditions are hampering efforts to contain the blaze.

The PSNI have advised motorists to avoid the area due to poor visibility and the AA says that the N56 between Lettermacaward and Dungloe is closed, as is the Caravan Road out of Dungloe. The AA is posting regular updates to its website.

In a statement, Pat the Cope Gallagher compared the fires to an “inferno resembling the fires that more regularly sweep across states in Australia”, adding that “extensive damage has already been done to farms, forestry, landscape and wild life is destroyed”.

Fires break out in Galway and Mayo

Firefighters are also battling a number of serious bog and forest fires in Galway and Mayo.

Four square kilometres of bog and forestry has been damaged between Pontoon and Castlebar, with another fire causing extensive damage to the Lough Inagh Valley area of Connemara.

Mourne Mountain blazes

Meanwhile, the BBC reports that fire crews from 60 of Northern Ireland’s 68 fire stations are battling several serious gorse fires in the Mourne Mountains area. A number of roads have been closed nearby and Chief Fire Officer Peter Craig of the NI Fire and Rescue Service said the flames were up to 40 feet high in places. He warned that the fires can move “faster than people can run”.

The fire service also said that dry conditions had been a factor in the high number of gorse fires, but authorities suspect that this weekend’s fires were started intentionally.