WATCH: Dramatic video and photos of the fight against a Laois bog fire

Lynda Kiernan

Reporter:

Lynda Kiernan


There were dramatic scenes near Mountmellick in Laois yesterday as dozens of people fought to put out a raging bog fire.

Two Irish Air Corps army helicopters were drafted in to lift water from rivers in a 'bambi bucket' to drop on the bog, on Monday, May 12.

The fire left up to 40 acres of bog vegetation in the Lower Forest area burnt and blackened, which would have also killed nesting chicks and much wildlife. See final photo below for the damage.

Laois County Fire & Rescue Service had crews from both Mountmellick and Portarlington fighting the fire, supported by Bord na Móna workers who used bulldozers to create firebreaks.

Anthony Tynan is Senior Assistant Chief Fire Officer.

"In all there were nearly 40 people involved, it takes up a lot of resources, we were there from 3pm until about 9pm and a Mountmellick crew is back out this morning checking for hot spots. The fire burnt down into the peat and when that happens it can flare up again," he said.

He said while the cause is difficult to establish, it is possible that it could be illegally dumped rubbish set alight.

"There have been problems with dumping there in the past," he said.

They urge people to exercise great caution not to start a fire as conditions are very dry, and will stay dry for the rest of this week.

"Crews from Mountmellick and Portarlington attended a bog fire near Mountmellick this afternoon, with welcome support from Irish Air Corps and Bord na Móna. Conditions are currently very dry, and great caution needs to be taken out and about," Laois County Fire & Rescue Service stated.

A second, smaller fire happened in Ballyfin also on Monday afternoon.

"Mountrath Fire crew attended a fire on bog or scrub ground, that fire was contained," SACFO Tynan said.

The fire service posted these dramatic photos in Lower Forest. The video was shared online by local eye witness Jamie Dunne.