FIRE Brigade units from Kiltimagh and Claremorris were joined by a helicopter operator as they battled to control a raging bog fire which burned several acres on Sunday.
The blaze was centred around the Brackloon and Derrylahan area on the southern side of Kiltimagh and the smoke could be seen for miles around.
The helicopter was called in as a back-up by Coillte representatives and it journeyed from Galway where it spent over an hour spraying loads of water on the most challenging access areas. The pilot did several “re-loads” from the nearby Cuiltybo Lake before eventually heading back to Galway.
A team of close to 20 employees of Coillte, who have a number of plantations very close to the area where the fire was surging, joined the Kiltimagh and Claremorris Fire Brigade members for the long haul as they battled to contain the fire.
Brendan O’Shea, who is Chief Fire Officer with the Kiltimagh Brigade, said they was serious concern about the fire which spread rapidly and threatened the plantations while also coming relatively close to some homes.
“The dry spell of recent weeks provided an easy pathway for the fire to take hold in a short time. A small number of trees were also burned but our members, with assistance from the Coillte team, put in a huge and demanding effort over several hours to bring it under control.
“It is still smouldering away and the smog from the fire was so dense for a time that visibility was down to a few yards early on Monday morning.”
The situation was further alleviated yesterday afternoon when a localised downpour in the Derrylahan, Ballyglass and Brackloon area substantially dampened the ground in the area covered by the fire.