Ní Riada warns of gorse fire dangers
Sinn Féin MEP Liadh Ní Riada is urging communities to be mindful of the dangers of gorse fires.
The Ireland South MEP made the comments after a series of serious gorse fires took place across Cork, Kerry and Clare over the weekend.
Fire fighters were called to a number of sites including Kenmare in Co. Kerry, Kilmore Woods in Co. Clare, and Bantry and Gougane Barra in County Cork, where the fire raged for more than two days.
“I would urge everyone to be aware of the dangers these fires can pose and to report them as soon as they are spotted, don't assume somebody else will or already has” she said.
“Whether accidental or deliberate these fires are incredibly dangerous so I would urge everyone to exercise caution when they are doing anything around gorse that could start a fire. There is a reason why there is a tight time period when burning can take place and why it must be done in a controlled environment by experienced people.
“In dry weather these fires can quickly get out of control and move at a frightening pace.
“As we have seen over the weekend they can spread to farmland, woodlands, endanger, injure and kill animals and come terrifyingly close to people's homes.
“Even when these fires don't cause such damage they still need huge numbers of firefighters to tackle them, often for hours or days at a time, diverting vital emergency services away from protecting the community.
“At the fire in Gougane Barra crews from Bantry, Macroom, Dunmanway, Skibereen and Ballincollig were in action.
“The damage caused by the fires at the weekend has yet to be fully assessed but I would urge the Department of Agriculture to begin looking into ways those affected can be assisted.”