Killarney National Park fire which has raged for three days may have been started deliberately

Killarney National Park fire which has raged for three days may have been started deliberately

THERE ARE growing concerns that has a fire that has destroyed a large area of Killarney National Park may have been started deliberately.  

It is thought that the devastating blaze began as a series of small fires in the Dinis area, off the Kenmare Road and also in an area known locally as the Eagle’s Nest. 

The suspicion is that these fires then got out of control, prompting the blaze to spread further throughout the park. 

Killarney’s Chief Fire Officer estimates that as much as 2,000 hectares of natural habitat may have been destroyed in the fire. 

That amounts to roughly one-third of the entire Killarney National Park with the blaze still continuing at the time of writing. 

“The damage is horrendous,” Andrew Macilwraith, Chief Fire Officer, acknowledged. 

"Not only have some of the oldest oak trees in Ireland been destroyed but also the habits of thousands of animals have also been destroyed." 

"Devastating to see the damage caused by fire at Killarney National Park," he tweeted.

 "Thank you to all involved in the incredible concerted effort to control the blaze - park staff, Kerry Fire Service and council workers, Gardai, Civil Defence, Air Corps and many others."

Micheál Martin has expressed his dismay at devastation witnessed. 

The blaze has spread to the top of Purple Mountain and the area overlooking the Gap of Dunloe. 

An Air Corps helicopter has been deployed to the scene, and has been repeatedly dropping thousands of litres of water on the fire, which is being fanned by strong easterly gusts. 

A small army of volunteers has also joined park rangers and staff from several state agencies to build fire breaks by clearing any vegetation in the path of the fire. 

The fire, which began late on Friday night, is thought to be the worst seen since 1984, when a similar blaze was tackles with a team of up to 50 staff. 

Speaking to the Irish Examiner, Killarney Mayor Patrick Connor-Scarteen refused to be drawn on the cause of the fire though called on the authorities to investigate further. 

“Extra resources, including those from gardaí, need to be dedicated to finding the cause of the fire,” he said. 

“Our climate is changing and we need the numbers to deal with situations like we are dealing with.”