Slieve Bloom fire still burning after one week says Laois Fire Service

Michelle Hogan

Reporter:

Michelle Hogan

Slieve Bloom fire still burning after one week

Picture by Offaly Fire and Rescue Service.

The fire that raged through the Slieve Bloom Mountains last week is still 'ongoing' one week after smoke was first reported according to Laois Fire and Rescue Service Chief Fire Officer Declan Power. 

The wildfire has been burning across some of the most scenic parts of Laois and Offaly for one week now, causing destruction in Special Protection Areas for plants and wildlife. 

The fire is generally being managed by Coillte with occasional fire service involvement where necessary.

Elsewhere on Wednesday, there is an ongoing fire at Cashel bog in Laois which "keeps flaring up due to the deep seated nature of the fire in the peat land" CFO Power said. 

Fire crews are attending Cashel bog as needed. There was a similar fire at Clonenagh bog outside Mountrath and Cloonagh bog outside Mountmellick in the last few days. 

It has been an exhausting week for Laois Fire and Rescue Service as Portlaoise, Rathdowney, Mountmellick, Mountrath and Abbeyleix fire crews rotated around the clock to assist with the fires in the Slieve Bloom. 

Last Wednesday evening, the fire in the Slieve Bloom was at its worst. Offaly Fire and Rescue Service shared an aerial video showing the extent of the damage which has worsened in the last seven days. Smoke could be seen for miles and a number of roads were closed. 

The Slieve Bloom Association has said that up to 500 acres of bog has been hit by the fire. Read more here.

Coillte has said that it is too early to put an estimated cost on the damage that has been caused but that it intends to fully investigate the cause of the fire. Read more here. 

Laois Fire Service had a 'hectic' weekend as winds caused the spread of the fire again. Read more here.

CFO Power has said that a good downpour of rain is needed to completely extinguish the fire. 

It was believed that the fire had been extinguished last Friday however the weather conditions led to the fire spreading and hotspots still burning on Wednesday, one week on. 

Air Corps helicopters and Irish Defence Forces were deployed to assist as well as firefighters from Laois and Offaly, local farmers, Laois Civil Defence alongside Coillte staff. 

Laois Fire Service renewed its appeal to the public not to light any outdoor fires including barbeques and to dispose of cigarette butts and matches appropriately as a condition red extreme fire risk remains in place, issued by the Department of Agriculture.