Over the last few years firefighters from Donegal Fire Services have attended a large number of gorse fires each year, and an alarming percentage of these fires are started deliberately.
Gorse fires are at their most devastating during periods of hot and sunny weather when the grass and undergrowth is particularly dry. Fire can travel through gorse and dry undergrowth at astounding speed.
Uncontrolled gorse fires threaten leisure activities such as camping and caravanning. But as well as being potentially fatal to humans, the fires threaten wildlife and many areas of beauty across the county. Many animals are unable to escape from fire and will be burnt. Birds can fly away but the nests and eggs that are left behind are destroyed.
Uncontrolled fires happen for a variety of reasons, including people carelessly dropping cigarettes, leaving rubbish in an area, losing control of barbeques and bonfires, and in a small number of cases deliberately starting fires.
However, everyone can help to reduce the risk of fire so that Donegal’s countryside remains safe, by taking care during the dry summer months in particular. Firefighters are urging the public to help them to prevent these devastating fires occurring by following this preventative advice: