AS West Cork sizzles in a heatwave, fire chiefs are on alert after glass bottles in undergrowth caused two separate blazes this week.
The first fire was on Tuesday near Inchydoney, which a Clonakilty crew attended. The second incident was a gorse fire at Ceim Hill, overlooking Castletownshend harbour before lunch on Wednesday, which two Skibbereen fire tenders brought under control.
Bantry station officer Ian Vickery urged people to be aware of glass as a serious fire hazard in scorching heat – particularly the danger of glass bottles left in cars, and also ornaments on windowsills.
And he also appealed to the public to be vigilant, particularly when disposing of single use BBQs, which Ian described as a serious hazard, and cigarette butts which are an ‘ignition source’ if discarded in dry vegetation.
Senior executive fire officer Cormac Daly in Bantry said that recent weather conditions had created a ‘massive fire load’ for unpredictable fires to spread rapidly.
‘The advice is that if a fire does break out, call fire services and do not try to deal with it yourself,’ he said.
The local fires coincided with the Department of Agriculture’s ‘Condition Red’ forest fire danger rating notice, the highest possible warning.
Meanwhile, farmers are once again suffering from the elements. After experiencing one of the wettest winters in history, they are now in dire need of rain for growth. Many have been forced to bring cattle indoors to feed them ration, a cost not usually associated with this time of year.
West Cork IFA chairman Corney Buckley said it wasn’t a case of them ‘crying wolf’ and while the situation wasn’t at ‘crisis point’ just yet, a lot depended on the coming days.
However, more positively, businesses are enjoying a major boost, thanks to the high temperatures, with everything from paddling pools, sun creams, BBQs and burgers selling fast, as Irish Water urges people to conserve water and has hinted supplies may be curtailed if the dry spell continues indefinitely.
Current forecasts suggest there may be a break later in the weekend, with some areas being in line for showers on Sunday and early next week.
Cleary’s pharamcy on Main St in Skibbereen reported a noticable hike in sun cream sales, along with after sun and antihistemines, due to the high pollen count.
The County Council’s new public toilets at Inchydoney opened this week in time for the increase in visitors. Inchydoney Lodge and Spa owner Des O’Dowd said the hotel was ‘very busy,’ as Irish people are more inclined to book when there’s a good weather outlook. However, he said that, as a result, traffic on the island had been ‘challenging’.