Gorse fires continue to cause havoc

Fires blaze across Galway, Mayo and Sligo

Fire service personnel at the scene of a gorse and forestry fire near Connolly in Co Clare yesterday. Photograph: Pat Flynn/Press 22

Fire service personnel at the scene of a gorse and forestry fire near Connolly in Co Clare yesterday. Photograph: Pat Flynn/Press 22

Mon, Apr 8, 2013, 06:00

Fire crews in the west were continuing to battle outbreaks of gorse fires in several locations yesterday.

As the prolonged dry spell left vegetation vulnerable in all rural areas, there was little hope of a respite last night, with little rain and fresh winds forecast for the next 48 hours.

Coillte has been issuing daily warnings of the dangers of lighting fires in the countryside while the current conditions prevail and the State forestry agency is appealing to land-owners and farmers to be particularly vigilant.

The Irish Farmers’ Association, meanwhile, has been distancing its members from responsibility for any of the outbreaks that have been threatening homes and forestry in isolated areas.

Fires blazed across Galway, Mayo and Sligo over the weekend, with all parts of Co Galway affected.

Fire crews fought outbreaks from Abbeyknockmoy in the north of the county to Gort in the south, Ballinasloe in the east and Clifden in the west.

An extensive fire that broke out near Cleggan on the Clifden to Letterfrack road was eventually brought under control late on Saturday night. But the roadfrom Cleggan Cross to Cleggan was closed yesterday as a result of damage to water pipes and amid fears of subsidence.

Meanwhile firemen from Graignamanagh, Co Kilkenny, spent nine hours bringing a large gorse fire on picturesque Brandon Hill under control at the weekend.

It was just before midnight on Saturday when the crews from Graignamanagh and Thomastown, along with four forestry workers, finally managed to quench the fire.