Mountains ablaze before cold snap hits Kerry
With days to go before the March 1 deadline, the mountains around Kerry blazed last weekend as famers availed of a rare dry spell to clear gorse.
The Kerryman reports that clouds of smoke from fires near Caherdaniel, Castlegregory, Camp and the foothills of Carrantuohill reached skywards on Saturday and Sunday with winds even causing pockets of smoke to drift towards homes in Caherdaniel.
An amazing image of a smoke-filled Carrauntoohill was captured by a local photographer who was driving towards Moll's Gap on Monday evening.
"I noticed the thick plumes of smoke and it was near Carrauntoohill that I first saw the flames. Once I had driven passed Kissane's sheep farm I was able to safely pullover. It's a rare enough event, but luckily I had my camera with me and I was able to stop and capture the image.
"It's a dramatic looking photograph for sure," said the photographer, who wished to remain anonymous.
Although the weekend's gorse fires are legal, the problem of illegal fires taking place within the deadlines of March 1 and August 31 was regularly flouted in 2017 with fires being lit well into April.
Outside the specified deadlines, Gorse fires are illegal under Section 40 of Wildlife Act 1976 - a law enacted to ensure the legal protection of birds which allows them to establish territories, make nests, lay eggs, rear chicks, and fledge chicks in upland areas.
However, there has been pressure to have the deadline extended until April 1.