A wildlife burned large tracts of land in Killarney National Park in Co Kerry over the weekend.
Fire services in Kerry were called to the scene on Friday evening and continued to battle the flames well into Saturday.
Members of the public were asked to avoid several areas of the park and to exercise caution if travelling the nearby N71.
Footage from the fire in Killarney National Park which continues this evening almost 24 hours after it began— Kerry County Council - Comhairle Contae Chiarraí (@countykerry) April 24, 2021
Thanks to Kerry Fire Service personnel and many other agencies for their hard work in battling the flames @DeptHousingIRL #Killarney
Video @valphoto pic.twitter.com/GrYBtnKaDt
The cause of the fire is not yet known, Minister for Heritage Malcom Noonan has said, adding that wildfires were generally not a natural phenomenon in Ireland.
He thanked the Kerry Fire Service, Killarney Water Rescue, An Garda Siochána, the Air Corps and the National Park and Wildlife Service (NPWS) staff in Killarney, who worked to quench the fire.
“The NPWS will be following up with authorities including the Kerry Fire Services to ascertain the circumstances surrounding the blaze once circumstances permit,” Minister Noonan said.
“Fires are particularly destructive in spring and early summer as it is prime season for nesting birds, breeding mammals and the regeneration of growth and habitats after the winter period.
“Uncontrolled fires in these high conservation value designated Natura 2000 landscapes (SAC/SPA) have a long lasting negative impact on biodiversity of the area.”
1. A large fire & very serious is burning in Killarney National Park. @npwsBioData staff & the Fire Brigade are currently on site dealing with the incident. We are asking members of the public to avoid areas of the Park listed below until further notice: pic.twitter.com/3DdDiL8wZj— Department of Housing, Local Government & Heritage (@DeptHousingIRL) April 24, 2021
Minister Noonan said the main source of wildfires is frequently thought to be the deliberate starting of fires without concern for the consequences.
He said aside from malicious activities, one of the main challenges was to encourage members of the public including landowners, farmers, and recreational users to act responsibly at all times.
“I would appeal to all members of the public to be conscious of the danger posed by fire – any fire – but particularly a fire on open ground which can very quickly get out of control.
“We have all seen how homes and lives can be threatened and we can also see the damage to the landscape and to valuable habitats caused by uncontrolled fires.
“Largely it is a question of individuals being more responsible about actions they take and being mindful of the potential damage to life, private property, and public property that can be caused by carelessly setting fires,” Minister Noonan concluded.