Fire services battle mountain fires in Gougane Barra

Units from Macroom Fire Brigade are responding to gorse fires in Cork and Kerry, including a blaze near the scenic tourist spot of Gougane Barra.

Dozens of firemen battled over the weekend to fight illegal wildfires across the south-west stretching from north Kerry to West Cork.

Acres of forestry and upland nesting areas were destroyed.

Kerry’s assistant chief fire officer John Hegarty, who was on duty trying to co-ordinate resources to fight the fires, said at least 50 personnel were involved in ighting fires from Knocknagoshel in the north of the county to Tuosist in the southern-most Beara peninsula on Friday night and Saturday.

Fires burned on both sides of Kenmare Bay. Between 10 and 15 acres of forestry were destroyed and a number of houses were threatened at one point, though this was contained.

Fire crews and tenders from Listowel, Castleisland, Sneem, Kenmare, Killarney and Tralee were all out.

The fires were all around the southern peninsulas and a there was close liaison with West Cork where crews from Bantry attended a number of fires in the Shehy mountain border area with Kerry, Mr Hegarty said.

Crews were also called to fight gorse fires in the Beaufort areas of mid-Kerry and at Shrone Rathmore in east Kerry.

Mr Hegarty said it was a major challenge for the fire service to not only contain fires over vast areas of the countryside but to also have protection for urban areas and to have units available to attend road traffic crashes.

“We want the brigades back in the major towns,” he said.

It is not known what caused so many fires, but fine weather is believed to have encouraged the burning of the upland gorse, locals say.

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