Illegal gorse fires continue to rage across the county

Caherconree shrouded in smoke last Sunday
Caherconree shrouded in smoke last Sunday

Dónal Nolan

The Fire Service in Kerry had to let gorse fires burn over the weekend to respond to two serious road accidents as officers found themselves stretched to the limit once more fighting the illegal blazes.

Fires raged across the county once again over the weekend as dry grasses and scrub on mountainside and bogland went up like tinder from Killorglin to Sliabh Mis and Brosna.

The Fire Service managed to protect all homes and forestry threatened by the flames while dealing with two serious road accidents in what was a carefully controlled response to the myriad emergencies.

As a result of the illegally-lit fires, it proved one of the busiest weekends ever experienced by the force.

Homes were threatened as fires raged out of control in Brosna and Boulteens but the Fire Service rushed to these areas and used water and foam to protect the homes. Forestry was also threated in both these areas but the Fire service again managed to largely protect the lucrative lumber.

"Some fires burning up to mountain tops were left as there is nothing to burn up there and we were operating on a strict priority basis with properties our first priority followed by forestry and, then, wildlife," Tralee Fire Service Station Chief Nigel Corner told The Kerryman.

"The fire service was stretched to the limit as we had to respond to two serious road accidents over the weekend at the same time as the gorse fires. By responding to the emergencies on a priority basis we ensure there is still an emergency service for the entire county," Mr Corner added.

Three tenders dealt with the blaze at Boulteens on the southern slopes of Sliabh Mis, one of a number of fires that raged in the area over the weekend. Three tenders (Tralee, Castleisland, and Abbeyfeale) also worked around the clock to protect up to four homes from a wildfire in Brosna over the weekend.

"We were lucky these homes were not in close proximity to one another as it allowed us to manage the situation better." The service remains on high alert until the next rains, which are expected on Thursday.

Kerryman

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