Dozens of firefighters tackle gorse-burning ahead of ban period

ESB poles were scorched and houses were put at risk during ‘shocking’ fires in Co Kerry

It is illegal from March 1st to the end of August to burn and cut hedges under the wildlife Acts. Photograph: Stop Gorse Fires campaign

It is illegal from March 1st to the end of August to burn and cut hedges under the wildlife Acts. Photograph: Stop Gorse Fires campaign

 

Dozens of firefighters have been battling gorse fires in Co Kerry over the past few days amid a frenzy of burning in advance of the limit on wildfires for mountain and scrubland areas.

Some units were out over the past two nights.

It is illegal from March 1st to the end of August to burn and cut hedges under the wildlife Acts to protect bird and animal life.

Lands that are burnt after this risk being removed from valuable EU payments schemes.

A frenzy of burning has taken place in the clear dry weather in advance of March 1st with all fire units throughout Co Kerry called out to bring the fires under control.

Two units fought a blaze in Tuosist near Kenmare in the furthest southern corner of Kerry on Sunday amid fears for the local post office; yesterday two fires near Ballyheigue near the most northern part got out of control due to the strong easterly winds.

ESB poles were scorched and houses were threatened. It took the fire service hours to bring it under control shortly before midnight and a number of units were involved.

Area councillor John Lucid (Fianna Fáil) said the fire in Ballyheigue could be seen seven miles away in Abbeydorney.

“The blaze was shocking, the flames were 10-15ft high. It is something you might see in a film.”

At one point on Wednesday the main road to Dingle became impassable because of smoke from a gorse fire. A large fire at the Gap of Dunloe was visible for miles and burning also took place near Killorglin and Templenoe.