Arson suspected in major gorse fire close to national park forest

Arson suspected in major gorse fire close to national park forest

14 April 2010

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Ireland —    An area of several square kilometres close to a major forest in the Killarney National Park was destroyed by fire on Monday night. It is believed it was started deliberately in a commonage area.

Kerry County Council yesterday asked members of the public to report any instances of deliberately setting fires to An Garda Síochána.

It took nine fire engines, water tanks and ancillary vehicles to contain the fire at the foot of Mangerton mountain. Fire tenders from five towns were involved in what a Kerry County Council spokesman said was “a very serious incident” in which there was a threat to a number of homes.

The fire engines were used to line the road to create a firebreak as the fire fanned by a breeze reached within six feet of a major forest in the national park. Support was also called in from Mallow in Co Cork. The road alongside that section of the park was closed.

The council believe the fire was deliberately started alongside others in sheep farming country in the wider Killarney area on Monday night. However, the area in question in Mangerton, although commonage, is not used for animal grazing.

“If there was another call-out in the Killarney area then the fire service would not have been able to get there quickly,” the spokesman said.

The fire caused widespread destruction of young deer and nesting birds. The burning of scrub and other vegetation is illegal this time of year under wildlife legislation.

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