Gorse fires leave hill farmers with forage shortages
Wildfires in the west have left hill farmers without sufficient foraging lands for livestock, the Irish Natura and Hill Farmers Association (INHFA) has warned.
After days of raging gorse fires across thousands of acres in Sligo, Galway, Mayo and Donegal many farmers have been left with no option but to relocate animals.
Fire fighters also battled blazes across Midland and Roscommon bogs over the weekend.
Last week, the Irish Wildlife Trust claimed some fires were "deliberately set" by hill farmers to clear heather from the land.
However, Vincent Roddy INHFA chairman insists hill farmers are not to blame and claims "copy-cat" arsonists may be the root cause.
"These fires are putting livestock, property, fencing, homes and people including those fighting them at risk as well as damage to wildlife.
"For farmers it's causing major problems. Livestock remain under risk. For many putting sheep back on hills after lambing the forage needed is now destroyed," he said.
Mr Roddy said the wildfires highlight the need for changes regarding controlled burning.