Hundreds of acres across Wicklow Mountains destroyed by ‘malicious’ gorse fires
Hundreds of acres of land across the Wicklow Mountain has been destroyed as a result of devastating gorse fires in recent days.
An urged appeal has been issued for people not to set hill fires after the head of Wicklow Fire Service indicated the fires were started illegally.
It is believed that the natural habitat of a large number of creatures have been destroyed as a result of the fires.
Wicklow Fire Service chief Aidan Dempsey said it is “doubly frustrating” to be sending crews and the Air Corps out to fight fires given the Covid-19 issues the country is facing.
He said the fires “are not accidental”, adding that gardaí are patrolling the Wicklow uplands to turn back people who could be breaching the coronavirus restrictions.
Mr Dempsey said the fires are “being caused maliciously” rather than accidentally by people who are tourists or using the mountains for recreational purposes.
In recent weeks, a number of fires have been burning despite a Department of Agriculture Condition Orange Fire warning in place.
The department, fire services and the National Parks and Wildlife Service have all appealed to people, in particular farmers, not to set hill fires at this time.
The fires have been concentrated in an area along the line of the Wicklow Gap, from Valleymount to Laragh.
Helicopters have been drafted in to help fight the fires, which is impacting on the resources of the Parks and Wildlife Service, the fire service, gardaí and the Air Corps.
Hundreds upon hundreds of hectares are impacted and dramatic pictures of the fires have emerged on social media in recent days.