Gweedore gorse fire placed 12 houses at risk

Up to twelve houses ran the risk of being seriously damaged in last Mondays gorse fires in Bunbeg.

Up to twelve houses ran the risk of being seriously damaged in last Mondays gorse fires in Bunbeg.

Fire services across the county were stretched as up to three serious gorse fires blazed simultaneously in a number of locations in the county.

In Knockastoler, Bunbeg, five fire crews from Gweedore, Dungloe, Falcaragh and Glenties spent almost seven hours dealing with the gorse fire that resulted in setting one house alight while another number of residences suffered minor damage, including a holiday chalet that had its roof damaged.

Fire crews reacted quickly to deal with a house in Knockastoler when its roof caught fire at approximately 1pm on Monday. The house became the focus of their efforts and they managed to bring the fire under control although the roof of the residence, the home of a local family, was badly damaged.

Nearby up the gorse fire swept dangerously close to twelve other residences. It also completely destroyed a number of sheds and outbuildings in the area as the fire crossed a roadway into the town land of Ballindrait.

No one was seriously injured in the incident.

Fires were also reported in Ardveen, a townland of Loughanure and also near Buncrana in Inishowen at the same time.

Dealing with all three serious situation at the same time left the Donegal Fire Services “stretched”, according to Chief Fire Officer Bobby McMenamin.

Remarking on the recent spate of forest fires nationally, Shane McEntee TD, Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine with responsibility for forestry said not only is the practice of setting gorse fires dangerous, it is also illegal.

“Setting fire to growing vegetation at this time of year is not only an extremely dangerous practice, it is also illegal. The dry spell of weather currently being experienced in parts of the country, and over recent weeks, has significantly increased the risk of forest fires and the consequential risks to the lives of rural dwellers, their property, and their livelihoods. Met Eireann has confirmed that weather conditions conducive to the rapid spread of wildfires will apply throughout the country for the next week. Last year, thousands of acres of valuable forestry was lost due to illegal and careless land burning, while the extent of the destruction of wildlife and natural habitats remains incalculable,” he stated.