Firefighters battle large gorse fire overnight

Driven by strong winds, the fast-moving gorse fire was visible across counties Carlow and Wexford.
Firefighters battle large gorse fire overnight

Sarah Slater

Firefighters battled a large gorse fire overnight along one of the country’s most scenic mountain ranges.

Carlow-based fire units battled for several hours to extinguish an extensive fire close to the Nine Stones area on Mount Leinster – where an RTÉ transmitter is located.

Driven by strong winds, the fast-moving blaze was visible across counties Carlow and Wexford.

A spokesperson for Carlow County Fire and Rescue Service said that despite numerous appeals warning the public not to start fires, a number of individuals continue to intentionally light them on Mount Leinster and the Blackstairs Mountains.

“As well as being damaging to plant and animal life, these fires release enormous volumes of smoke, carbon dioxide and other pollutants which are harmful to the atmosphere.

“This fire burned very close to the popular Nine Stones car park which will result in an unsightly scar on the landscape adjacent to this natural beauty spot for the remainder of the summer month.

“A passing snow shower helped firefighters from Bagenalstown Fire Brigade extinguish the remnants of the large gorse fire.”

Photo: Carlow County Fire & Rescue Service

Last month the fire service also battled extensive gorse fires which destroyed large swathes of land along the same part of the Blackstairs mountains.

A separate blaze last year also needed several units of the fire service along the same track of land to bring it under control.

The fires have caused anger among service members who say that they are putting strain on resources which may be needed in the ongoing Covid-19 crisis, as well as damaging wildlife and posing a risk to human health.

Forty firefighters from four units based in Kilkenny, Carlow and Wexford Bagenalstown were drafted in to attend the fire over several days until it was extinguished.

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