Firefighters contain Mayo forest blaze

Firefighters contain Mayo forest blaze

11 June 2007

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Mayo, Ireland — Firefighters are today attending the scene of a forest fire in Co Mayo after warm weather caused it to reignite this morning.

More than 20 firefighters have been fighting the fire, which began around 5.30pm yesterday.

Dry conditions caused the blaze in a deforested area, around three kilometres from the Corrib Gas terminal at Bellanaboy.

Castlebar chief fire officer Seamus Murphy said officers had the fire – around half a square kilometre in size – under control this afternoon. It had been extinguished last night, but “hot spots” had reignited with today’s warm temperatures, he said.

Locals in the Glenamoy area said the fire had spread to within 300 to 400 yards of the Shell terminal site at one point.

Nearby resident John Monaghan said he could see the fire from his home at lunchtime today. Residents in the nearby village of Bunowna had been particularly concerned as they are just a few kilometres downwind of the blaze, he said. “It’s pretty much worrying for everyone here.”

Mr Monaghan, a member of Shell to Sea, which opposes plans for a gas refinery in the area, said the fire further highlighted risks of such a facility in a “bone dry” forest. “This is a highly combustible facility in the middle of a flammable area,” he said.

Shell has been granted planning permission for the processing plant but has faced legal challenges from local residents in the High Court.

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