Monday 18 December 2017

Arsonists blamed for dangerous wildfires

Anne Lucey

Arsonists are believed to have deliberately started a series of "extremely dangerous" wildfires in Kerry, with the latest outbreak threatening several homes.

Fire services in the county worked into the early hours yesterday to contain a serious fire that spread over several hectares and threatened homes alongside the N22 at Glenflesk.

Hundreds of spectators watched the ring of fire on the hillside and gardai directed traffic as smoke billowed across the main Cork to Killarney road.

It is the second serious fire in a number of days. Monday night saw desperate attempts by the fire services to save a large forest in the Killarney National Park after a blaze was ignited in an adjacent area.

It has been the subject of a number of fires in recent weeks in what is believed to be deliberate acts of burning. The local Muckross community organisation is meeting this weekend amid fears for the national park and houses in the area.

Meanwhile, up to seven fire engines were involved in fighting the Glenflesk fire along with other equipment. The flames came to the back doors of a number of houses near the GAA pitch and St Agatha's Church off the national primary route and residents had to leave their homes.

It was almost 4am before the fires were contained.

Other fires were set alight high on Kippagh and Mangerton mountains, with flames extending for miles in the night sky. In the scenic Torc mountain area, four tenders fought blazes.

The dry conditions were exacerbating the situation and a council spokesman appealed to those burning scrubland: "If anyone is even thinking about setting fires, please don't."

Irish Independent

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