Gardai appeal for witnesses to major Clondra bog fire

Investigations into the circumstances surrounding a major bog fire on the Longford/Roscommon border late last night are continuing this week.

Investigations into the circumstances surrounding a major bog fire on the Longford/Roscommon border late last night are continuing this week.

So far gardai have stopped short of indicating whether the cause of the blaze in the Fisherstown area of Clondra last Tuesday evening had any malicious connotations attached.

For now, investigators are pinning their hopes on members of the public who may have noticed anything suspicious to come forward before determining what course any follow up inquiry might take.

As revealed on the Leader’s website this week, fire safety officials conceded they had “no idea” as to what may have caused the fire to ignite last Tuesday (April 3).

A spokesman said while there was no damage to adjoining forestry and farmland, the fire may well have spread had crews not worked through the night as deteriorating weather conditions took hold.

“We received the first of two calls at around 9:45pm. What was unusual about it was one caller said the fire was in the Clondra area while a second call described it as burning in Newtownforbes,” the spokesman said.

Described by those involved in the rescue operation as “quite extensive”, three units covering the areas of Longford, Lanesboro and Strokestown attended the scene.

It has also emerged a number of personnel were forced to return to the area at around 5am amid concerns the fire had re-ignited.

As news of the incident spread and high winds began to escalate, representatives from national forestry agency, Coillte arrived in a bid to keep the fire under control.

“That was the reason additional units were called in,” added the spokesperson.

For those living close by however, the biggest fear however centred largely on the difficulties emergency crews had in terms of gaining access to the scene as motorists and passers-by looked on from afar.

“I live about ten miles away, but I can tell you that the biggest problem down here were from sightseers blocking the road,” confided one local. “Thankfully, no forestry was hit, it’s all bogland that is really affected.”