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Wildfires now under control in Killarney National Park, as Mourne Mountain fire operations begin to wind down

The Taoiseach said the Kerry blaze has caused “devastating” damage.

Image: PA

Updated Apr 25th 2021, 6:05 PM

WILDFIRES IN KILLARNEY National Park in Co Kerry have begun to come under control, as firefighting operations are being scaled back in the Mourne Mountains Co Down.

Thousands of acres of the national park were engulfed in flames yesterday, prompting a massive fire fighting operation involving Kerry Fire Service, park and council staff, gardaí, Civil Defence and the Air Corps.

The efforts continued today with two Air Corps helicopter repeatedly dumping thousands of litres of water onto the fire.

It is understood that the fires are now beginning to come under control, but that there is concern for one particular area of the park.

Taoiseach Micheál Martin said the damage caused by the blaze in Killarney Park was “devastating to see”. 

In a post on Twitter, Martin thanked emergency responders and all those helping to battle the blaze for their “incredible concerted effort”.

Kerry Mayor, Patrick Connor-Scarteen said that concern remains due to the high temperatures and wind, but that the operation was well coordinated by firefighters and the agencies involved.

“There’s obviously concern, you don’t know with what way the wind is blowing,” said Connor-Scarteen, speaking to The Journal.

He has also made calls for there to be extra resources allocated to the Gardaí and the National Parks and Wildlife Service to help determine the cause of the fires.

The Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage and the National Parks & Wildlife Service are asking members of the public to avoid the following areas of the Park until further notice:

  • Gotderraree,
  • Derrycunnihy,
  • Gallavally,
  • Cahernaduv,
  • Gearhameen,
  • Doogary,
  • Eagles Nest,
  • The Five Mile.

In the Mourne Mountains, an operation to put out one of the largest gorse fires in recent years in Northern Ireland has begun to be wound down.

After three days fighting the fires, the major incidence status was de-escalated this afternoon.

Firefighters are now working on extinguishing hotspots in the area, with the Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service (NIFRS) hoping they can wrap the entire operation up within a few hours.

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Thirty firefighters and four appliances arrived at the Co Down peaks at first light on Sunday.

Health Minister Robin Swann visited the scene in Newcastle, Co Down, later in the day.

He met with firefighters and other emergency responders.

“While the situation is improving, the blaze is continuing to cause significant damage to the Mourne Mountain area,” he said.

“The bravery, commitment and determination of these firefighters have very much shone through as they worked tirelessly in extreme circumstances to bring this fire under control. I pay tribute to each and every one of them.”

With reporting by Press Association and Tadgh McNally

About the author:

Céimin Burke

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