Slieve Bloom forest fire is 'dangerous and difficult to fight' - Coillte

Lynda Kiernan

Reporter:

Lynda Kiernan

Email:

news@offalyexpress.ie

Slieve Bloom forest fires are 'dangerous and difficult to fight' say Coillte

Smoke billowing over the mountains on Wednesday evening

The forest fires that are still burning in the Slieve Bloom mountains, are "dangerous and difficult to fight", Coillte Teoranta has said today Thursday July 5.

Fire crews from Laois and Offaly are battling fires along with Coillte and the Defence Forces.

The fire began yesterday Wednesday on moorland near Kinnitty and Cadamstown in Offaly, spreading to Coillte owned forestry. The cause is yet unknown.

Early indications are that over 100 hectares (250 acres) of forestry in the Slieve Blooms have been burnt. 

Coillte has today issued an update.

"A large area has been burned after a fire spread into a forest area from open moorland. This is a significant fire that is dangerous and difficult to fight and along with a Coillte helicopter the Air Corps is now also assisting Coillte, alongside the Laois County Fire Service and members of the Defence Forces," the commercial state forestry company said.

The Defence Forces has deployed over a dozen soldiers to battle the fire on the ground, as well as sending a helicopter to drop water from air. 

The Laois Offaly mountain range is one of three forest sites where Coillte is today battling fires in Ireland.

"As of today Coillte is fighting a number of fires nationwide. These include a significant fire in Kildalkey in County Meath, and fires in the Dublin mountains," the company said.

Coillte has renewed its appeal to the public to be extra vigilant towards the dangers of wildfires as the dry weather is forecast to continue into next week.

"The public are asked to be mindful that responsible behaviour, including acting safely and responsibly in rural environments, can significantly reduce the chance of wildfire starting. Coillte also ask that you report any suspicious activity regarding the setting of fires to the local Garda Síochána.

They recommend the following steps to prevent forest fires at this time

DO NOT light fires and be careful of all activity involving fires
REPORT any suspicious activity you may observe
REPORT any forest fires you see to local fire brigade
DO NOT approach forest fires under any circumstance, they are extremely dangerous
KEEP access points and forest entrances clear for emergency services
 

"Coillte has a comprehensive fire and emergency plan in operation for every forest, which includes the construction of fire breaks, operation of fire patrols, communication with fire brigade services and provision of specialised equipment in high risk areas," the company said.

Today's update on the Slieve Bloom fires from Laois Fire Service

Incredible aerial footage of fires raging in Slieve Blooms