Hill fire in Wicklow Mountains National Park threatens homes

Parks and Wildlife Service, park staff and multiple fire units battle blaze at Lough Dan

Flames are seen on the slopes of Scar Mountain near Lough Dan in Co Wicklow on Sunday night. Photograph: Wicklow Fire Service/Twitter

Flames are seen on the slopes of Scar Mountain near Lough Dan in Co Wicklow on Sunday night. Photograph: Wicklow Fire Service/Twitter

 

There were fears for property, forestry and wildlife as a major hill fire swept around the Lough Dan area of Co Wicklow on Sunday night.

Local residents closed windows against smoke and ash was seen falling like snow as multiple units of Wicklow Fire Brigade, Wicklow National Park staff and locals tackled the blaze.

The fire is understood to have started about 6pm on Sunday in an area of the Wicklow Mountains National Park, slightly west of Lough Dan. Within hours it had spread to a wide area, threatening homes on Shinnagh Lane, according to eye-witnesses. The fire also spread in an area between Brown Mountain and Lough Dan and as night fell was approaching forestry called Barton’s Wood.

David Butler of Adventure Safety Ireland said he had seen the fire spreading in gorse and heather on open ground near Scar Mountain , but also close to Coillte forestry and a number of private residences. He said smoke had spread several kilometres.

The fire broke out at a grazing area within the National Park, but outside of the closed season for burning which ended at the end of February.

Wesley Atkinson of the National Parks and Wildlife Service who was also at the scene said workers were fortunate there was no wind. He said the fire had covered a wide area and there would be a loss of wildlife, but he said by 10pm the fire was coming under control. He said as the fire climbed higher there was more heather than gorse and this did not burn as rapidly.

“We will need to see it in the morning light” he said.