Fire in the Slieve Blooms on July 4. Pic: Offaly Fire Service
Offaly Fire Services have confirmed that they are tackling the 'biggest wildfire in the country' at the minute between Kinnity and Cadamstown in the Slieve Bloom mountains.
A number of helicopters, including the Air Corps and a private aircraft are now dropping water on the area which spans both the Laois and Offaly sides of the Slieve Bloom mountains.
Offaly Fire Services estimate the fire site to be 4-5 miles wide having spread from a 2-3 mile site late on Wednesday night. The fire was first reported early on Wednesday afternoon. Offaly Fire Services told the Offaly Express that they are now "getting the fire under control" and that the helicopters will be key.
"We are happy with how things are going at the minute," a spokesperson told us.
Firefighters from two Offaly and two Laois crews are currently battling the fire at the fringes to help fight spreading while the water from the air dampens the main "hot spots." Offaly Fire Services say conditions are now favourable with slack winds and considerable cloud cover.
The Fire Services also said that no evacuations have taken place as of yet and that no physical property has been damaged by the blaze thus far. Firefighters are stopping the fires from crossing public roads where possible but a number of roads are closed near the scene.
They are appealing to people to "stay away" and not to "travel to the area for a look." "Onlookers hamper relief efforts and may put themselves and others in danger," a spokesperson said.
"Wind directions can quickly change and they may become isolated and trapped by fire spread."
Authorities advise that The Cut Road between Clonaslee and Mountrath is now CLOSED. All other feeder roads from Kinnitty, Cadamstown and Mountmellick to Slieve Blooms should be avoided, they added.
"Firefighting operations are continuing and access roads need to be maintained."
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