Fire crews from Ennis and Ennistymon battled a gorse fire in the Kilmaley area overnight having spent several hours tackling a bog fire a short distance away last night.
Fire personnel from three stations were called to a bog fire on a mountain between Kilmaley and Darragh at around 4.00pm yesterday.
Fire crews were beaten back by the fire as changing winds swept flames up to 10 feet into the air. Fire fighters were forced to retreat several times and reassess the situation before returning to battle the flames again.
The fire quickly spread across the townlands of Letteragh and Bolybrien while the residents of the one home at Boulglera called the fire brigade fearing the fire was getting dangerously close to their property. Fire crews were quickly sent to investigate the report.
Fire fighters worked in scorching sunshine with temperatures as high as 18 degrees while the heat from the fires was several times that again.
Taking short breaks to drink water, fire crews continued to fight the blaze which at times looked like it might never be controlled. Flames quickly spread across the bog as personnel struggled to keep up with the fire.
No sooner had fire crews returned to their stations when they were alerted at around midnight to attend a gorse fire at Lisroe, Kilmaley. Several crews from the Ennis and Ennistymon responded to the incident.
Fire crews from Shannon were called out to deal with a fire in Ennis at around 12.45am as all appliances and personnel from Ennis were tied up with the Lisroe incident.
Staff at the Regional Fire Control Centre in Limerick also confirmed fires in east Clare with fire crews from Scarriff dealing with those.
Fires were reported in Athea and , Co Limerick, Listowel, Ballybunnion and Killarney in Kerry, Keeper Hill and Killcommon Co Tipperary while there were also reports of a major mountain fire on the Tipperary/Waterford boarder which was being fought by crews from four stations.
Personnel from multiple stations were dealing with several fires some of which had been burning for hours.
Clare County Fire and Rescue Service meanwhile, is advising landowners to desist from burning activities due to a heightened risk of gorse, forest and bog fires.
The Fire Service says the warm, dry weather combined with easterly winds has created “tinderbox” conditions across County Clare.
With forecasts suggesting a return to drier conditions early next week following some light rain this weekend, the Fire Service says the risk posed by uncontrolled burning remains high.
Denis O’Connell, Senior Assistant Chief Fire Officer said that there has been significant damage to forestry and land as a result of last night’s fire. He also asked that people are vigilant and that they call the fire Brigade if they see any uncontrolled fire.
“The highest risk period for quickly spreading fires occurs between March and June, when ground vegetation is dead and dry following the winter period. Fires have spread quickly this week due to the dry vegetation, low humidity and easterly winds which feed the fires,” he stated.
It is an offence under the Wildlife Act to burn growing vegetation between 1 March and 31 August in any year, on any land not then cultivated.
Details of the laws in relation to burning, and additional guidance are available on the Council website, www.clarecoco.ie. The advice includes:
– Landowners burning gorse, scrub, or vegetation must inform the Fire Service at least one day in advance on 999 or 112 providing details of the location, time and duration of burning.
– In addition, landowners burning within 1 mile of woodland must notify the local Garda Station and woodland owner in writing at least 7 days in advance.
– Where burning is to take place within a Special Area of Conservation or Natural Heritage Area, written consent must be sought in advance from the National Parks and Wildlife Service.
– It is illegal to burn household or commercial/industrial waste, household green waste (e.g. hedging), electric cables for the recovery of copper, or to burn waste in bonfires.