IRELAND – Hundreds of people have been evacuated from Curracloe beach today after a major fire broke out on sand dunes.
Around 800 beach goers were soaking up the sun at the popular Wexford tourist hot spot as temperatures reached 24C.
But their day was thrown into disarray around midday when a fire was spotted on nearby sand dunes and the beach was immediately evacuated.
Emergency services remain at the scene and people are being urged to stay away from the area.
Speaking on air to Beat 102-103, eyewitness Jack Tim Murphy said: “At half-eleven we saw a bit of smoke from the sand dunes and I phoned it in straight away to the fire brigade.
“About forty minutes later they were on scene and the flames had got completely out of control and we could see eight to 10 foot flames from the Surf Shack and it spread very quickly over a five to ten acre area which is completely blackened now.
“They [The Wexford Fire Service] have it completely under control and the whole beach has been evacuated.
“There was maybe 800 people on the beach and 200-250 cars and they evacuated them in about a half-hour/forty minutes.
“They were very quick on the evacuation.
“It looks like a scene from Saving Private Ryan, it looks like a scene a war movie down here its just smoke you can’t see 20-25 feet in front of you it’s just smoke.
A number of people were taking part in surfing lessons, while a swimming race was also taking place at the beach.
Curracloe is a popular beach for tourists and attracts many visitors from Dublin and further afield, it is also a well-known crab fishing hotspot.
The recent heat wave caused a water shortage and vegetation across the country remains dry – meaning wildfires break out easily.
A series of bush fires have broken out across the country in recent weeks, particularly at Bray Head and the Wicklow / Dublin mountains.
Fire services nationwide are urging people to refrain from lighting fires in out doors areas.