Gorse fires break out in Dublin and Wicklow as temperatures soar

Students evacuated from Kilmacanogue school as fires spread in Wicklow

Irish Air Corps encountered a gorse fire in the Dublin Mountains during a training exercise on June 27th. Video: Irish Air Corps


Gorse fires continued to spread across parts of the country on Thursday as temperatures soared above 30 degrees.

In Wicklow, students and teachers were evacuated from Kilmacanogue National School on Thursday afternoon after a gorse fire began to spread near the building. It is understood the fire also came close to a housing estate in the village with Bray and Greystones Fire Brigade battling the blaze through the early afternoon.

The Wicklow Fire Service tweeted that its crew was working hard to protect the local school and homes in Kilmacanogue from the fire. It also responded to fires in Glencree and along the Military Road on the Sally Gap on Thursday.

The fire service added that wildfires were present in “Widgates, Kilmac, Glencree and Kippure” and that crews “are ready at some of these incidents to drop everything if a life threatening incident is reported”. No one was reported to have been injured in the blazes.

Members of the Irish Air Corps who were training in the Wicklow area also assisted in putting out fires on Thursday. A spokesman for the Defence Forces said the group was diverted from their regular training to drop water on the fires.

Meanwhile, Dublin Fire Brigade continued to battle gorse fires in Carrickmines and around Glendoo Mountain where fires had also blazed on Wednesday.

Three units were also called to attend to a large gorse fire in the Tolka Valley Park in Finglas while other units dealt with a large fire around the Slade Valley Golf Club in Brittas, Co Dublin.

Dublin Fire Brigade has requested that people take extra care to fully extinguish any open flames used for barbecuing or other outdoor cooking. It also warned that wildfires can change direction suddenly and that smoke from gorse fires can affect a person’s breathing and ability to see.

On Tuesday, the Department of Agriculture issued a “condition red” forest fire danger notice, replacing an orange “high fire risk” notice that had been in effect since Thursday last.

“Under extreme fire risk conditions, any ignition may give rise to rapid and unpredictable wildfire development and spread, particularly in dead grasses and low moisture shrubs like gorse and heather,” the department said.

“Upland fires can be expected to cover extensive areas and pose extreme difficulties to suppression efforts and may potentially give rise to major emergency scenarios.”

State forestry company Coillte also said all outdoor use of fires, barbecues and other open ignition sources should be avoided on forest lands and in other high-risk areas until further notice.