Killarney National Park’s features could act as firebreaks

A recent fire in Killarney Nation Park. Photo: Radio Kerry

The natural features of the Killarney National Park are being explored to see how they can be made to act as fire breaks.

Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Heather Humphreys said the National Parks and Wildlife Service was putting forward suggestions to a working group on wild fires that streams, paths and rivers should be harnassed.

The agency is having to tread a fine line between interference and using the features in such a highly protected landscape as the park.

Lands surrounding the park have several designations including special area of conservation and national heritage areas.

These cannot be unduly interfered with – however, they will have a role in minimising the risks of the gorse fires which threatened the whole of the park this year.

“My department is exploring how best to utilise natural features within the landscape of Killarney National Park – such as streams, rivers, tracks and trails – to act as ‘natural fire breaks’ in helping to minimise the risk of wild fires within the park,” she told the Dáil.

“Targeted and minimal on-site work ,” is also being suggested.

Meanwhile, the minister has met with a delegation from the IFA on proposals to extend the burning and cutting season, now outlawed between March and September under the Wildlife Acts. Some 180 submissions have been received.

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