Ireland — Firefighters from across Co Clare battled with a number of wildfires which destroyed forestry and threatened property.
The fires are thought to have been set deliberately.
In one incident, up to 40 firefighters from three stations tackled a fire near Kilmaley which destroyed up to 150 acres of mature forestry along with several hundred acres of gorse. Crews were mobilized from Ennis, Ennistymon and Kilrush to fight the wildfire which raged out of control for several hours after mysteriously flaring up again despite being extinguished earlier.
Gardaí are now investigating the cause of the fires which the State forestry agency Coillte and fire officers believe were started intentionally.
Fire crews from Ennis were first called to the area at Lisroe Kilmaley on Wednesday evening to deal with a gorse fire. On Thursday, crews had to return to the same location where several fires had been reported over a wide area. Firefighters managed to prevent the fires spreading to local forestry, however, on Friday they were back at the same location again after a fire spread in to a forested area. Extra crews from Ennistymon were called in to assist and despite fighting fires at several locations for most of the day, crews had to be mobilized to the area again on Saturday.
One Coillte worker said: It is very hard to say but some of these fires are suspicious. I believe some have been started deliberately and if that is the case, these people dont know the damage they have caused and the lives they have endangered.
Elsewhere in the country, fire crews from Scarriff and Killaloe tackled forest and bog fires at locations in east Clare while in the west of the county, Kilkee fire brigade battled a fire near Doonbeg.