GARDAÍ are investigating the cause of two gorse fires in West Cork in recent days.
The fires occurred in the Schull and Bantry areas on Sunday night and into Monday morning.
The Bantry fire was in Maulraha, in the Mealagh area, while the Schull fire was on a hillside at Toormore.
Neither fire was near residential properties.
Both were reported to gardaí.
A Garda spokesperson said: “Gardaí are now carrying out enquiries to see if the fires were started deliberately.”
They followed a major fire at Shiplake, near Dunmanway, on Sunday afternoon, as fire crews — including one from Macroom — battled a huge blaze in Killarney National Park.
And on Monday, there were fires outside Ballingeary village, and in Passage West, while Cork City Fire Service also responded to a number of gorse fires across the city.
Fianna Fáil’s Christopher O’Sullivan said:
“It was devastating to see the fire in the hills at Shiplake, Dunmanway, over the past couple of days. I wish to express my deepest thank you to the fire brigades of Dunmanway, Clonakilty, and Bantry, as well as all the other volunteers and frontline staff who were on hand to battle this blaze.”
Mr O’Sullivan: “What happened over the weekend is not just a huge health-and-safety concern, but it’s also a concern for the massive habitat destruction.
“National Parks and Wildlife Service reform can’t happen soon enough.”
Burning of vegetation is done on uplands in mountainous areas to clear the way for new growth each year.
But, there is a ban on burning between March 1 and August 31 to protect wildlife and farm animals — meaning that the setting of fires since March 1 is illegal.