Republic of Ireland news

Major Co Donegal gorse fire under control

Gorse fires in the Annagry, Mullaghduff and Kerrytown areas. Picture by Colm Lenaghan, Pacemaker

A large gorse fire in west Donegal has been brought under control although some 'hot spots' remain, the county council has said.

Gary Martin, Director of Emergency Services at Donegal County Council, told RTÉ that although the fire is under control crews are keeping a close eye on wind conditions.

Some "hot spots" reportedly flared up in parts of Béal Cruite.

The blaze, which broke out at 6am yesterday, spread rapidly through vegetation and heather between Loch an Iúir towards the seaside village of Anagaire.

It was reported that one house had been badly damaged in Cionn Caslach.

People living in the area and businesses used slurry spreading machines and oil tankers to spray water.

The council also used a private company to bring in a helicopter to spread water over the flames.

Yesterday afternoon, firefighters battling the fire became trapped yesterday as the rescue operation unfolded.

The crew were battling to save a house in the Belcruit area when they became surrounded by flames.

It is understood they had doused the area around them as they awaited help from helicopters, which spread water from the sky and enabled the crew to leave the area.

Fire crews from 13 brigade areas were supported by dozens of local people to halt the spread of the fires. Picture by Colm Lenaghan, Pacemaker

Fire crews from 13 brigade areas helped bring the blaze under control.

The Air Corps helicopters and army personnel were also tasked to the scene in a bid to halt the spread of the fires, following a request from local TD Pat 'the Cope' Gallagher.

Gorse fires start again in west Donegal yesterday morning. Picture by Colm Lenaghan, Pacemaker

However, he criticised how long it had taken the Republic's Minister for Defence Paul Kehoe to make a decision on the matter.

Locals and authorities in Anagaire were also involved in trying to save properties close to the Caisleáin Óir Hotel.

One fireman told Donegal Daily: "I have battled a lot of gorse fires over the years but this is amongst the most dangerous.

"Everything is bone dry and there is a strong wind so these are perfect conditions for the fires to spread rapidly."

Gorse fires around Loch an Iúir in Donegal. Picture by Colm Lenaghan, Pacemaker Press

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