independent

Monday 20 November 2017

Gorse fires burn cash

Numerous call outs for Fire Service to grass and gorse blazes

Anne Campbell

Gorse and grass fires are costing Louth County Council thousands of euro in man hours and call out charges, most of which they can't claim back.

The vast majority of calls to council's Fire and Rescue Service in Dundalk over the past seven days have been for gorse and grass fires, with the Long Woman's Grave area of the Cooley Mountains the scene of a number of incidents. And fire fighters were also called to a large number of grass fires in and around housing estates in town including Marian Park and Saltown.

Chief Fire Officer Eamon Woulfe said the fires his colleagues battled last week were all started deliberately. He said: 'They take up significant resources and it's difficult to know who started them and who the council can charge for all the costs'.

The first gorse fire happened on April 30 in the Cooley Mountains, with the fire service there again on Bank Holiday Monday, Saturday and twice on Sunday last.

There were grass fires at Toberona, Marian Park, Newry Road, Pearse Park, Beechmount Drive, Muirhevnamor, Tom Bellew Avenue, Fatima, Saltown, Knockbridge, Cedarwood Park, Clontigora and Barton Park.

Mr Woulfe said this is the peak time for gorse fires and said landowners should cut rather than burn the heather and gorse before applying to the council for permission to 'control burn' the branches.

Dundalk Municipal chairman, Cllr. Mark Dearey, yesterday tweeted a picture of the damage caused in the Cooley Mountains and said: 'Dreadful deliberate destruction of habitat. Would be much worse but for Carlingford fire brigade last night@louthcoco'.

The Argus

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