Rampaging wildfires have taken place at a number of sights throughout the borderland areas of County Longford. Among the locations affected were Tarmonbarry, Co. Roscommon, Streete, Co. Westmeath and most recently Lismacaffrey and Coole, Co. Westmeath.
A large number of units from stations at Longford, Granard, Edgeworthstown and surrounding counties were called to the scenes in a bid to curtail the damage. Fuelled by the dry weather and blustery winds, the fires swept forward claiming hundreds of acres of land along the borders of Longford.
Tomas O’Maonaigh, Senior Assistant Chief Fire Officer at County Longford Fire Services told the Longford Leader that units from Granard, Edgeworthstown, Virginia, Castlepollard, and Oldcastle, Co. Meath were involved in quenching the flames at Lismacaffrey and Coole.
“They were out there for four to five hours on Saturday and Sunday, and all day again on Monday,” said Tomas. “The area destroyed was Bord na Mona bog, private forestry and Coillte forestry.”
According to Assistant Chief Fire Officer at Westmeath Fire Services, Joe Cassidy, all fire personnel were on duty over the weekend in that county.
“We were working at the two fires at Lismacaffrey and Coole. That is all under control now. There will be smouldering for some time and we are on duty if it kicks off again.”
Meanwhile, at Streete, Co. Westmeath the damage was extensive also. According to a spokesperson for the Streete Wildlife Club, over 200 acres of game sanctuary land was destroyed by fire on Sunday last.
“Firemen, along with members of the club, fought the fire for over eight hours to prevent it getting into the club grounds,” they said. Among the damaged inventory were 250 trees that the club had planted earlier this year.
“The club cannot say at this time how must wildlife was lost in the fire, but it is felt that a large number of grounds nesting birds such as pheasant, snipe and woodcock would have been destroyed by the fire.
“The club wishes to thank the fire services from Castlepollard, Granard, Edgeworthstown, Oldcastle, and Mullingar who attended the fire, and who remained at the scene on Sunday night. We also wish to thank James Quinn and Patrick Owens who drew water, and the people who supplied tea and sandwiches on the day.”
Mr O’Maonaigh said the situation has since eased.
“Things have eased off for the moment. We’re hopeful for a turn in the weather that will continue to help us,” he said. When asked how the fires had stared Tomas replied “We have no information at present as to how these fires started.”