Fire destroys more than a third of Galway forest

gorse1Calmer wind conditions in Co Galway have assisted efforts to bring under control a major fire which has already destroyed more than a third of Ireland’s largest forest.

Air Corps and Coillte helicopters are continuing to douse the affected areas in the Cloosh Valley with thousands of litres of water.

However, the State forestry agency says it could take days to fully extinguish the fire.gorse2

So far, over 1,500 hectares of forestry and 2,000 hectares of bogland have been devastated.

The public has been urged to stay away from any areas affected by the fires, and any uncontrolled or unattended fires should be reported to emergency services.

Gardaí said people and vehicles entering the area are posing difficulty for the emergency services.

They warned that the area should be avoided except for emergency vehicles and local residents as it is dangerous to enter and there is a possibility of becoming trapped.

Swirling winds have escalated the situation in recent days but they have eased today, meaning greater inroads are being made in restricting the spread of the fire.

Along with an intensive aerial effort, fire crews, army personnel and Coillte staff are working on the ground to beat back flames.

gorse4The effort is focused on three separate fronts.

There is less smoke emanating from the affected areas and the agencies involved are hopeful they will continue to benefit from the calmer conditions.

However, they have cautioned that the fire could take hold again, if winds pick up this afternoon.

Coillte Managing Director Gerard Murphy has said that it will take several more days before the agency can be satisfied that the threat has passed.

Source : RTE.ie


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