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Cork City Fire Service battling gorse fires in The Glen area.
Cork City Fire Service battling gorse fires in The Glen area.

Outdoor fires putting fire service under pressure

CITY firefighters have battled as many as 40 blazes in the city in recent days as the dry weather continues.

The majority of incidents have been gorse fires, with a number of issues of rubbish igniting too.

A number of the fires are believed to have been started maliciously, according to David Spillett, assistant chief fire officer with Cork City Fire Brigade.

“On Saturday we had between 15-18 calls and the majority of them were gorse fires and outdoor fires,” Mr Spillett said.

It was the same for Sunday. We are asking parents to keep an eye on their children and also obviously enough, we are asking people to not start fires as it puts our services under extreme pressure at such a busy time.”

Mr Spillett said accidental fires are also an issue with a BBQ fire requiring their assistance and fires started by cigarette butts not properly disposed of.

“These fires are purely accidental but totally avoidable,” Mr Spillett said. “Conditions are very very dry at the moment and it is very easy to start a fire. We are asking people to take care.”

A number of incidents have also been recorded where glass bottles have refracted and concentrated the sun’s rays, causing dry grass to ignite.

The fire service has also faced issues in accessing crowded areas like beaches, rivers or picnic spots.

“People are parking on double yellow lines or in places they shouldn’t be and it makes it very difficult to get a fire truck past,” Mr Spillett said.

“When you are parking your car, just take a minute to look around and ask the question, would a fire truck be able to get through?”

Gardaí operated a towing system at some busy beaches over the weekend in a bid to combat this issue.

Finally, Mr Spillett urged people to pay attention to water safety. 

“We are encouraging the public to take all precautions. At beaches, swim within the flags, avoid rip currents and be very cautious.”