Wicklow fires: Firefighters and Air Corps battling ‘extensive’ forest fire near Enniskerry

The Wicklow Fire Service is currently battling a significant forest fire at Crone Woods near Enniskerry.

rews from Bray and Greystones have been attempting to get the blaze under control since 1am this morning.

Footage circulating online shows large plumes of smoke rising as the fire spreads across the woodland.

The Wicklow Fire Service said the Air Corps have also arrived on scene to provide aerial firefighting support.

Chief fire officer Aidan Dempsey said authorities are continuing to monitor the situation and hope to bring the fire under control this afternoon.

“When the first crew from Bray got there they realised that it was an extensive fire and a large incident so we backed them up with crews from Greystones and Blessington,” he said.

“They fought through the night and we contacted the Air Corps during the night so that we could get a helicopter off them at the earliest possible time in the morning.

“So, we’ve had an Air Corps helicopter with us for the morning and they’ve been making great inroads into the fire. It’s very difficult terrain so we’ve been fighting it where we could and in the areas where it’s difficult to get to on foot, they’ve been working on that.

“They’ve gone back to Baldonnel at the moment to refuel and Coillte have a second helicopter on site now, it’s a private helicopter from Galway, and the Air Corps will be coming back so we’re very hopeful that we’ll get the fire under complete control this afternoon.”

Crone Woods is a popular Coillte forest in north Co Wicklow near Powerscourt House and Gardens.

Coillte is also assisting fire service personnel in an attempt to bring the fire under control.

It said the fire is affecting areas of forested lands and also the Wicklow Mountains National Park.

A spokesperson from Coillte said it is too early to determine the source of ignition of this fire.

“There is a National Status Orange Forest Fire Warning in place and Coillte is asking the public to avoid the use of all outdoor fires and other open ignition sources such as barbeques and cigarettes at this time,” the spokesperson said.

“Coillte request that all members of the public and visitors to recreational areas should cooperate with all requests regarding fire safety, obey all relevant bye-laws and be considerate in parking vehicles so as not to impede access by emergency vehicles.

“Forest fires pose a serious health and safety risk to the public and to people working in the forest sector. They are very difficult to control and put firefighters and forest personnel at great risk in their efforts to extinguish them.

“They cause ecological and environmental damage to wildlife and to protected habitats and species that can take years to recover from.”

Local councillor Melanie Corrigan said there needs to be a national warning in relation to the danger and risks associated with forest fires.

“They’re not sure whether it was a cigarette or a barbeque that was accidentally put down and got reignited because it’s so dry up here at the moment, and so hot,” she said.

“The crews are up there at the moment working away on it still, I can’t see it from my own house, but friends have sent me pictures from across the valley and there’s a lot of smoke coming from it.

“It’s just really unfortunate because again it’s putting our fire service at risk as well, there’s a lot of livestock and everything in that area, it’s a hard-to-reach area so it’s just very unfortunate that it’s happened.

“I think more of a national warning needs to go out, there were campers in Knocksink woods at the weekend and we had to alert the park rangers because they had lit little fires down there. It’s something that’s starting to happen more and more, and I think the public need to be educated more on this.”

The blaze comes as the number of extreme wildfires is expected to increase by 30pc within the next 28 years, according to a February 2022 UN report.

More than 30 wildfires continue to ravage parts of Spain, with authorities paying special attention to four blazes in Castile and Leon and Galicia.

In Losacio, in northwestern Zamora province, where two people have died and three people were critically injured, more than 6,000 people in 32 villages have been evacuated.

In Galicia, more than 1,500 people have been evacuated from the path of four fires, with several buildings damaged.

So far this year 173,000 acres have been burned in the country, around twice the average of the last decade, official data showed before the heatwave.

In neighbouring Portugal, around 50 municipalities, mainly in central and northern regions, still faced “maximum risk” of wildfires, according to the IPMA weather institute.

More than 1,000 firefighters were battling five main wildfires, the biggest of which started in the northern municipality of Murça and spread to two nearby municipalities.

Hundreds of people have been evacuated from villages and an elderly couple was found dead on Monday inside a burned-out car.

Major fires also continued to burn in the Gironde area of southwestern France, where 34,000 people have been evacuated.

Some 2,000 firefighters supported by water-bombing aircraft were fighting the blazes, which started a week ago and have burned around 47,700 acres.

In Greece, firefighters had tackled 73 fires within 24 hours, the fire brigade said on Monday. The civil protection authority has warned of a very high risk of fires across the country on Tuesday.

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