AFTER fighting seven gorse fires in four days, Bantry Fire Brigade found the time to rescue a dog that had fallen down a hole.
Bantry Station Officer, Ian Vickery, said they were coming back from the most recent fire at Barley Lake in Glengarriff on Wednesday when they got the call about the dog.
‘She had fallen down a hole under an oil tank and the owner needed helping in getting the terrier out,’ said Ian, who reported that the owner was delighted to have her dog back.
He confirmed that their first shout-out to a gorse fire came at lunchtime on Thursday, February 22nd, but the team working the two fire tenders had it quickly under control. They said the second gorse fire at Coomhola at 7pm on Sunday night was also small and under control in under an hour.
But they were back in Coomhola again at 8.30pm dealing a more serious fire in a different part of the valley that threatened to encroach on a private tree plantation. ‘It took us four hours,’ said Ian, ‘but we stopped it.’
Tuesday was their busiest day – the crews got their first call at 3.30am to go to Derryduff in Coomhola; followed by another call to Tooreen in Kealkil; and then to Derryduff More, which is also in Coomhola.
‘We didn’t get back to base until 11.30am,’ said Ian, who mentioned that a timber-frame house had been threatened, and that the third, at Derryduff More, actually burned 2.5 acres of a plantation before it was brought under control. He said they were assisted in that by the Dunmanway crew, under Dan McCarthy.
He said there was little burning by landowners during the legal timeframe under the wildlife laws from September 1st up to March 1st and that, as a result, there is a build-up of dry vegetation and gorse near peoples’ houses. He advised homeowners to clear around their property, particularly near oil tanks because last year the fire crews had to deal with gutters and garden furniture going on fire because bushes near the houses had not been cleared. Under the law, burning is illegal from March 1st until August 31st. ‘This is not the end of it,’ he feared, ‘it’s just the start.’