BREAKING - Irish Defence Forces deployed to help tackle Slieve Bloom fire

Michelle Hogan

Reporter:

Michelle Hogan

BREAKING - Irish Defence Forces deployed to help tackle Slieve Bloom fire

BREAKING - Irish Defence Forces deployed to help tackle Slieve Bloom fire

The Irish Defence Forces were deployed to help with the ongoing forest fire in the Slieve Bloom Mountains on Thursday afternoon.

A spokesperson for the Defence Forces told the Leinster Express that the decision was made to deploy 70 soldiers just before 3:00pm on Thursday with 30 from Kilkenny and 40 from Athlone.

Two helicopters are also assisting with one dropping water on the fire and one working as a command control.

The soldiers will help the local fire brigade with a number of different tasks at the discretion of the fire service.

The forest fires that are still burning in the Slieve Bloom mountains, are "dangerous and difficult to fight", Coillte Teoranta has said.

Offaly Fire Services confirmed that they are tackling the 'biggest wildfire in the country' at the minute between Kinnity and Cadamstown in the Slieve Bloom mountains.

A number of helicopters, including the Air Corps and a private aircraft are now dropping water on the area which spans both the Laois and Offaly sides of the Slieve Bloom mountains. 

Offaly Fire Services estimate the fire site to be 4-5 miles wide having spread from a 2-3 mile site late on Wednesday night.

Laois County Fire & Rescue Chief Fire Officer Declan Power gave an update to the Leinster Express this morning.

"The fire is still ongoing, but it is being controlled. Operations are in hand.

"The Cut road is still closed. Our crews were all pulled off the mountain last night and we rendezvoused in Clonaslee at 7am this morning," he said.

READ FULL UPDATE FROM LAOIS FIRE SERVICE HERE.

WATCH: Incredible aerial video shows true extent of fire in Slieve Blooms.