Arson around West Cork

Posted by The Skibbereen Eagle | April 25, 2017 0

Every year in otherwise tranquil and beautiful West Cork the landscape is scarred by an act of environmental vandalism that is cruel to wildlife and disastrous to the environment

A gorse fire in a remote valley in Cork has been brought under control after fire crews tackled the blaze through the night. The fire started in a section of the Gougane Barra valley two days ago.In a statement released this afternoon, Cork County Council said that fire crews from Bantry, Macroom, Dunmanway and Skibbereen attended the blaze last night. The crews were supported by a control unit from Ballincollig and a water tanker from Bantry. The council said that they attended the blaze from about 12.45 am last night until late this morning, when the fire was brought under control.

The blaze has been burning in Gougane Barra valley, Co Cork, since Saturday evening, covering some 4km (2.5 miles) at its peak, Cork County Fire Service said. The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine issued an “orange” warning, signalling there is a high fire risk, on April 19. It said there had been a string of fires and “losses in forestry” in recent weeks owing to high pressure and favourable weather conditions.

Took this around 1p.m. today

Posted by Bill Paterson on Monday, 24 April 2017

Residents in the area were worried as fires raged across the night. Locals could hear sheep scream as animals try and escape the fires on the mountains overhead. One local said “It was scary last night. You could just hear animals in the valley.  Sheep, lambs, in the valley. You could actually hear them screaming. We’ve no idea how much damage has been done. There is a fire heading eastwards at the moment so that’s being monitored,”

The fire has been burning in the Derrynasaggart mountains for almost two days now, affecting thousands of acres. Although farmers and other groups want the burning season extended, it is illegal to burn after March 1st, while the nesting season is under way. The Irish Wildlife Trust wants an end to upland burning saying the destruction to wildlife including rare birds and vegetation is devastating on uplands which are already depleted. Particularly distressing this year have the number of sheep who have been incinerated alive as their paths fleeing from the fires have been blocked by fencing.

Cork Fire Brigade said in a statement: “As we have said previously, these unnecessary and illegal fires take the brigades’ protection away from the population centres of West Cork. “

One of the most touching scenes which illustrates the cruel effect of these fires on wildlife was when a little rabbit came over to Skibbereen Fire Brigade yesterday at a gorse fire for a wash down and well needed drink of water. How terrified must that rabbit have been to ignore its natural behaviour?

Let us stop the mealy mouthed description of these fires as “outbreaks” or somehow caused by walkers and hikers. The scale clearly shows that they are deliberately caused by landowners burning gorse from upland pastures. They know what they are doing is wrong which is why they set these fires at weekends and towards the evening when they feel there is less chance of being observed or Police or other authorities being around. They are prepared to risk fires getting out of control overnight with the consequences for public amenity, environment, wildlife and potentially humans.

So let every member of local authorities and Gardai head out to Gougane Barra and see this historic site and he destination of numerous walking trails as it is now. Scarred, blackened devastated and littered with the charred corpses of Sheep and Lambs –  a monument to human stupidity and the elfish people who do not care about the consequences of their actions. So Cork County Council and Gardai, if this is illegal let us see the prosecutions and the perpetrators publicly shamed and punished and receiving substantial fines and prison to deter this reckless behaviour. . For if the Law is not enforced and those who callously cause these fires are confident they can get away with it there is no point in pretending we care about the environment or protecting treasured places like Gougane Barra.

Let us resolve that this is the last year West Cork and its special places are vandalised by the stupidity of a selfish few.

The Skibbereen Eagle

The Skibbereen Eagle

In 1898, to widespread bemusement, a small Provincial Newspaper in an equally small town in the South West corner of Ireland sonorously warned the Czar of Russia that it knew what he was up to and he should be careful how he proceeded for “The Skibbereen Eagle” was wise to his game and in future would be keeping its eye on him! It is doubtful that Nicholas II, Emperor and Autocrat of All the Russias, even noticed the Eagle’s admonitions but as history soon proved he should have paid closer attention to the Eagle’s insightful opinions!

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