Jack Quann
Jack Quann

15.55 15 Jul 2021


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Gorse wildfires in Howth in Dublin have been breaking out over the last few weeks.

Firefighters are continuing to tackle the blazes.

But one local resident decided to take matters in his own hands to help.

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Mick McCarthy told Lunchtime Live Dublin Fire Brigade and the Air Corps were successful, up to a point.

"They were accessing this area by going up a maintenance path on Howth Golf Club and they had fire engines up there.

"And they succeeded in getting most of it out, and then with the assistance of Air Corps with their helicopter and this thing called a bambi bucket they were successfully putting out the fire."

But Mick says the fire started to move further across the hill in the second week, and was on to the top of it.

"It was basically outside of their hose length area, they just couldn't get their hoses to it any longer.

"It was actually on a sort of steep slope and sort of inaccessible."

He says he was speaking to one of the firemen, who mentioned they have leaf blowers but had not been trained to use them.

And Mick, who says he has a very strong leaf blower, went up and tackled a blaze in the heather.

"I decided 'I'm just not watching this thing coming down the hill.'

"I went up and I actually, in 20 minutes, succeeded in putting out 300 feet of flame on the hill with this leaf blower.

"It was very successful, but it is only successful really for heather - when it gets into the gorse the heat is too intense.

"But if it's in the heather and you're blowing back into the black, burnt areas it works quite successfully."

'Area of conservation'

Mick acknowledges that the fire service would advise against the public getting involved, and has every confidence in them.

But he says he has a vested interest in protecting this area.

"I am concerned about the wildlife habitat on that hill - this is a special amenity order area and a special area of conservation.

"And I really was disturbed that, because it has got into an inaccessible area of the hill, that they were just letting it burn.

"And I felt that there is some things we can do".

The Dublin Fire Bridge is reminding people to keep clear of fires and call 999.

Main image: Wildfires burn on Howth Head in Dublin. Picture by: Dublin Fire Brigade

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