Latest: Current weather conditions have created ’a perfect storm’ for forest fires, according to Coillte.

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Air Corps video shows extent of damage being done by forest and gorse fires

Latest: Current weather conditions have created ’a perfect storm’ for forest fires, according to Coillte.

Air Corps video shows extent of damage being done by forest and gorse fires

Latest: Current weather conditions have created ’a perfect storm’ for forest fires, according to Coillte.

Firefighters are using helicopters to dump water on a large fire in the country’s biggest forest in Connemara.

The blaze in Cloosh Valley has already destroyed one in four trees in the forest.

Meanwhile, firefighters in Sligo fought this massive fire in the Ox Mountains. Sligo Fire Brigade, Coillte and the Air Corps have been involved in the operation over the last number of days.

Update 10am: Air Corps helicopters have been called in, in an attempt to quell the fire blazing through Cloosh Valley in Galway.

Coillte has said it is battling fires on its land at as many as 30 separate locations.

This is the largest fire yet in the whole of Ireland and threatens the Galway Wind Park as well as devastating the landscape and threatening homes.

Galway Green Party representative Pauline O’Reilly said: "We have got to get serious about blazes which have been ravaging our beautiful countryside throughout March, April and May.

"Burning is illegal from March 1 through to September. Coillte are clear that they believe, as do local residents, that these fires have been lit illegally putting tremendous pressure on fire services and having a detrimental effect on wildlife".

Earlier Firefighters are continuing efforts to save the country’s biggest forest from destruction.

The state-owned forestry company Coillte says a blaze in the Cloosh Valley forest near Oughterard Co Galway is out of control.

About a quarter of the plantation has already been lost.

It is one of almost 40 active forests fires across the country.

Mark Carlin of Coillte says the public need to be aware of the risk posed by lighting fires: "It’s appeared the most the extreme fire danger I can ever remember.

"With the dry vegetation, the dry weather and high winds, it is critical that people take far far greater care and unfortunately we do suspect that some of these fires are started maliciously."

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