Cloosh Valley in County Galway was the latest victim of Irelands recent forest and gorse fire pandemic.
Currently a regional emergency response is in operation in order to get the blazes under control. The fire has currently spread outside of the 1,500ha of forestry owned by Coillte.
Coillte staff, the fire service and Army and Air-Corps have been fighting the blaze for several days now but have yet to get it truely under control. It is estimated that up to one third of the areas biggest forest has now been destroyed by the fire, which adds up to about one in four trees.
Current weather conditions have created ‘a perfect storm’ for forest fires, according to Coillte. Firefighters are using helicopters to dump water on a large fire in the biggest forest in Connemara.
The cause of the fire has yet to be established, although it is believd they were set deliberately.
The fire which is now threating local communites as well as farmland is fast approaching Ireland’s largest wind farm, currently under construction, within the valley. Three units of Galway Fire Service are on site to tackle fire events in close proximity to wind farm infrastructure.
There are estimated to be abetween 20-30 forest and gorse fires around the country.
Anybody who witnesses the starting of a new fire is urged to contact The Irish Wildlife Trust on 01-8602839.