Video shows ring of fire at Gap of Dunloe

Video shows ring of fire at Gap of Dunloe
A ring of fire on Gortadirra Hill on the side of Tomies Mountain in The Gap of Dunloe Killarney on Thursday night as a gorse fire spreads rapidly through the valley. Photo: Don MacMonagle

A video has emerged showing the ring of fire that threatened the ancient oak woodlands of Tomies Mountain at the western most edge of the Killarney National Park.

As reported in today's

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Irish Examiner in a story by Anne Lucey, the smoke emanating mainly from the Gap of Dunloe region was visible for miles in daylight yesterday.

Dramatic new pictures and video show the fire as twilight faded to dark.

The native oaklands at Tomies are among the largest in the country, with the sessile oak trees there believed to be at least 200 years old and the remnants of a continuous ancient woodland.

The fire began near the Gap of Dunloe on high ground late on Wednesday night, and around 30 fire fighters and equipment from units in Killorglin, Kenmare, Killarney, and Castleisland, were called to the scene.

The fire was still raging last night, high over the Gap of Dunloe. However, the Air Corps, which was earlier put on standby to assist with ‘Bambi-bombing’ the woods, has been stood down “for now”, said assistant chief fire officer Michael Flynn last night.

They had stopped the fire getting to Tomies, which was their priority but it a “back fire” of heather and furze was still raging.

The recent spell of dry weather in Kerry has seen a number of fires in so-called upland commonage areas again in recent nights, particularly in the area of Killarney National Park.

The fires are being lit, despite warnings from the fire service, gardaí and the Department of Agriculture who say satellite-based technology will be employed to determine where the fires started and just who is set to gain by setting them.

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