Fire warning issued after West Cork blaze threatens homes and popular tourist attraction

Altogether an estimated 80 acres were burned at the Caha Pass and a further 80 acres was damaged at Tooreen.  
Fire warning issued after West Cork blaze threatens homes and popular tourist attraction

Fire fighters and residents tackle the blaze. Picture: Two Green Shoots

Emergency services in West Cork have issued an orange danger rating for forest fires from the Department of Agriculture, Food, and the Marine. 

The risk phase for fire outbreaks is expected to peak tomorrow where hazardous fuels such as dead grasses and shrubs exist with high-pressure weather conditions. 

The warning comes as firefighters from three emergency services battled a blaze at the Caha Pass and Tooreen in West Cork last Sunday and a major outbreak in Bantry last week.

Altogether an estimated 80 acres were burned at the Caha Pass and a further 80 acres was damaged at Tooreen.  

Several homes and the Ewe Experience, a popular outdoor tourist attraction near Glengariff, came under threat from the blaze that broke out at the Caha Pass. 

A second fire at Tooreen descended over ESK mountain and firefighters needed to contain the blaze for over nine hours. 

Units from Bantry, Kenmare, and Castletownbere emergency fire services contained the blaze after a nine-hour effort. 

Bantry first received the call about the fire at 4.30pm and did not leave the scene until 2.00am. 

Firefighters extinguished the blaze using beaters for the flames on the hills and hoses closer to the roads. 

In an Instagram post, the Ewe Experience said a change of wind helped the owners and the emergency services get the fire under control after a night spent fighting the blaze. 

However, without this wind change, the owners of the tourist attraction feared for the safety of surrounding homes. 

"We spent the night battling a huge fire with fire crews from three towns to save our house and gardens. If the wind hadn’t changed we might not have escaped," they said. 

In another post, the interpretative garden described the night on Esk mountain as "terrifying". 

"A truly terrifying night on the mountain above the gardens," the post said, "[...] The Fire Brigades from Castletownbete, Kenmare and Bantry who fought the kilometers-long blaze for hours across the Esk. 

"We were so lucky the wind changed - a night we will not forget and a huge thank you to the firefighters. So sorry for the horrible risk & damage to all life," the post said.

 

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