Picture courtesy of Fire Office, Mr Michael McCarthy.
Tributes have been paid to the 28 brave firefighters from all over Co. Tipperary who brought a major gorse fire under control yesterday (Monday July 9), with warnings throughout the day for motorists to keep away.
The blaze started at night before petering out on Monday morning before dawn, only to restart due to the record hot dry conditions and blowing breeze. Smoke from the blaze could be seen billowing for miles around.
Thurles firefighters initially brought the blaze under control by 8am on Monday, explained Fire Officer Michael McCarthy for the Tipperary Fire and Rescue Service, before having to return with extra resources later in the morning as the fire blazed up again, threatening motorists and houses nearby.
Major resources were brought in from all over Co. Tipperary to tackle the blaze. Two units of the Fire Brigade and a tanker were deployed from Thurles, three units from Cashel, a unit from Templemore, and a water tanker from Roscrea were deployed to the scene.
Overall, some 28 firefighters battled the blaze, and while no one was injured, some firefighters did have to retreat as the wind changed and the fire grew in intensity.
Gardaí from Thurles Garda Station also backed up their colleagues in the Tipperary Fire and Rescue Service. “We got our first call at about 1.30am on Monday morning,” said Mr McCarthy. “It was gorse burning on a bank. It was dark and dangerous to go in there,” and conditions remained difficult before sunrise.
It took about six hours to bring the blaze under control, in some of the most difficult conditions firefighters can face.
Full story in this week's Tipperary Star, on page 2.