A vole lotta lovin’ from Bantry's firefighters

April 19th, 2020 7:10 AM

By Jackie Keogh

The tiny bank vole rescued from a ‘ring of fire’ in Ahakista. (Photo: Bantry Fire Brigade)

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A BANK vole offered himself up to the tender mercies of Bantry Fire Brigade last week after being encircled by a ring of fire.

Station officer Ian Vickery told The Southern Star that with all the worry and fear caused by the Covid-19 pandemic ‘it’s nice, for a change, to have a nice story to report.’

Bantry crews, together with firefighters from Schull, were working on containing a hill fire in Ahakista last week when one of the team noticed what he assumed was a mouse in a rather perilous situation.

Ian said: ‘Ger O’Leary, one of our eagle-eyed crew, spotted this lad inside a ring of fire and could tell he was trapped, so he walked in and scooped him to safety.’

Although the vole was ‘absolutely trembling’, Ian said, ‘it offered no resistance to being picked up. Ger then took him to safety, and off he toddled.’

But that wasn’t the end of the story. Ian and his crew – who are known for their screwball sense of humour – launched into a few Johnny Cash-themed tweets that amused their many followers.

‘It was tongue in cheek,’ said Ian, ‘there was the obvious reference to “Ring of Fire” and Ger “walking the line.”’

As for “Hurt”, Ian confirmed no vole was injured, a happy outcome for the vole, and something of a morale booster for the firefighters and their Twitter fans.

The station officer was also happy to report that heavy rainfall over the weekend has reduced the incidence of illegal gorse fires.

The Bantry crew was, however, out on Thursday with the Schull brigade dealing with a gorse fire, followed by three more gorse fires over the weekend, all of which were described as ‘small.’ Ian Vickery praised members of the public for ‘phoning in’ the fires – one of which was near Pearson’s Bridge; one near Kealkil; and one near Caherdaniel in Bantry – as soon as they see them saying: ‘That’s brilliant because it gives us a chance to react very quickly.’

Landowners have been urged not to burn scrubland, especially as fires mean vital emergency personnel are then diverted during the ongoing Covid-19 crisis.

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