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Gorse fires continue in midlands and north-west

The Army continues firefighting efforts as widespread fires continue to blaze in counties Donegal, Sligo and Offaly.

Coilte firefighter Vincent McAndrew battles a gorse fire outside Pontoon in County Mayo over the weekend.
Coilte firefighter Vincent McAndrew battles a gorse fire outside Pontoon in County Mayo over the weekend.
Image: Eamonn Farrell/Photocall Ireland

THE IRISH ARMY is continuing to assist battling gorse fires in the north-west of Ireland, as significant blazes continue to tear through land in counties Donegal, Offaly and Sligo.

Two army helicopters and 40 troops are deployed in Falcarragh on Donegal’s north-west coast, where a fire is continuing at Muckish Mountain, while further troops are on standby to be deployed to Glenties should they be deemed needed.

Other troops remain poised to be called into action elsewhere in the country, though it now appears unlikely that they will be needed in County Offaly where fires have diminished in power overnight and where the Irish Times says that visibility has increased.

Yesterday the Irish Chief Fire Officers’ Association described the spate of fires – on bogland and in forests, as well as gorse – as “unprecedented”, saying 13 counties had been affected by various fires.

Met Éireann has predicted rainfall later today, which should aid further in tackling the blazes. The rain is set to begin in Munster before sweeping across the rest of the country this evening.

Fire services in Northern Ireland, where fires are also continuing, have revealed that Sunday was their busiest day in history – with squads being deployed to five of the province’s six counties.

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60 of the country’s 68 fire stations were called to action at some point over the day, tackling 755 individual gorse and wild land fires, the News Letter reported.

Authorities there have said it will take years for the environment to recover from the damage caused by the fires, with hundreds of acres of heather moorland destroyed.

About the author:

Gavan Reilly

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