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About one-third of Killarney National Park has been destroyed by fire

KERRY: About one-third of Ireland’s Killarney National Park has been destroyed by fire. Killarney’s Chief Fire Officer estimated that up to 2,000 hectares national park land has been destroyed or potentially destroyed.

The fire was noticed on Friday night. More Air Corps will arrive at the scene today to help in extinguishing the fire from the air, using water from lakes in the National Park.

Private helicopters of executive helicopters were brought in by the National Park Authority. In addition, Air Corps, volunteers and various government agency officials are on the scene to put out the fire. Andrew Macilwraith, Chief Fire Officer, said there are signs that the fire will continue to blaze for a third night.

“The damage is horrendous. Not only have some of the oldest oak trees in Ireland been destroyed but also the habits of thousands of animals have also been destroyed,” Macilwraith said. The question of whether the fire was deliberately started has also been raised. The facts of this matter will come out only through the investigation of the Gardai.

The fire has been brought under control in Oak Wood, which is home to some of the country’s oldest oaks. The area was rescued by Air Corps, members of Killarney Water Rescue and firefighters. The fire around the Purple Mountain could not be put out. Park rangers, officials and volunteers from various agencies are trying to put out the blaze.

It is estimated to be the worst incident in Ireland. The previous largest fire was in 1984. Billy Tangney, of Killarney Jaunting Cars, said: “Nobody can say for certain what started this. But fires keep happening every year around this time and something has to be done.

Kerry county councillor Michael Cahill said the fire affected habitats and the psyche of locals. “I have called for firebreaks to be provided around public and private forests and residential areas on a number of occasions over the years,” he said.

“Year after year, the lives of Fire Service Personnel are put at risk protecting our homes from these fires and our wildlife is being decimated. Everybody involved needs to come to the table, before lives are lost,” he said.

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