Friday 23 June 2017

Wildfires burn on after dry weather

An aerial photo from the Defence Forces shows a helicopter scooping up water to pour on the gorse fire in Donegal
An aerial photo from the Defence Forces shows a helicopter scooping up water to pour on the gorse fire in Donegal

James Edgar

Heathland fires are still raging across parts of Ireland after the record-breaking dry spell.

Emergency services continued to tackle the fires as forecasters said there was very little chance of rain in the next 24 hours.

In the North, police were investigating reports of a man seen with a petrol can close to one of the worst gorse fires for years in the Mourne Mountains.

Another two youths were spotted lighting fires in south Armagh, according to reports from police in the North.

Hundreds of acres of land are being destroyed, and homes and livestock threatened by fires which have burned for much of the bank holiday weekend in Counties Down, Armagh and Tyrone.

In the Republic, three Air Corps helicopters and more than 100 troops wearing specialist suits have been tackling wildfires in the north- west of the country.

The Defence Forces said operations were focusing on the Dungloe area of Co Donegal, where significant progress has been made.

Paul Knightley, a forecaster from MeteoGroup, the weather division of the Press Association, said it was unlikely to rain until tomorrow evening at the earliest.

He said: "We're not expecting any rain in the next 24 hours. There's an area of high pressure over the north of the country. Tomorrow night it looks like some showery rain will start to edge into Northern Ireland and it might start to edge into Scotland on Thursday morning."

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