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park blaze Killarney National Park fires extinguished leaving 5,000 acres of destruction 

Chief Andrew Macilwaith this morning carried out an aerial survey of the entire park with heat seeking equipment on board Coastguard helicopter R115.

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A fire burning in Killarney National Park, Eagle's Nest, and much of the Park is under fire, currently, Killarney National Park and Wildlife Services, The Irish Air Corps , Kerry County Council Fire Department and Killarney Water Rescue Search and Recovery, have been dispatched to help contain the fire.

A fire burning in Killarney National Park, Eagle's Nest, and much of the Park is under fire, currently, Killarney National Park and Wildlife Services, The Irish Air Corps , Kerry County Council Fire Department and Killarney Water Rescue Search and Recovery, have been dispatched to help contain the fire.

A fire burning in Killarney National Park, Eagle's Nest, and much of the Park is under fire, currently, Killarney National Park and Wildlife Services, The Irish Air Corps , Kerry County Council Fire Department and Killarney Water Rescue Search and Recovery, have been dispatched to help contain the fire.

FIRES that devastated larges parts of Killarney National Park are now out, the chief fire officer for County Kerry has said.

Chief Andrew Macilwaith this morning carried out an aerial survey of the entire park with heat seeking equipment on board Coastguard helicopter R115.

He said just before lunchtime he was satisfied the last of the fires were extinguished.

“We went fully over the park with thermal imaging and there were only two reasonably small fires left,” he said.

“They’ve now been put out by the Air Corps helicopter and also by a private helicopter for firefighting so the fires in the national park are now out.

“What we’re doing now, with the help of another helicopter coming over from Scotland, is to dampen down the areas to prevent any reignition as much as we can.”

He said this work would continue for the rest of the day.

“Sometimes a fire can burn under the peat and the next thing wind blows over it, it dries out a bit and it reignites.

“It’s impossible to 100pc guarantee it won’t reignite but this will us as much protection as we can get.”

Mr Macilwaith said he hoped to be able to stand down his fire crews late today. They have been fighting the fires since Friday night.

The scale of the fire is devastating for wildlife, habitats and conservation areas as well as the tourism and leisure value of the park.

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“We’re talking one third of the land mass of the park being burnt, so maybe 2,000 hectares or 5,000 acres. It may be the largest one ever in the park,” Mr Macilwaith said.

Both the terrain and the fact that the fire was already well established when it was reported caused difficulties for the crews in tackling it, he said.

“The sooner we get called, the more we can do about it. By the time we got called to this fire on Friday night, it was night and it had spread quite extensively.

“There was a strong wind spreading it and even though the crews were tackling it, it was moving up to the heights.

“Once it moves up the mountain we can’t get at it until the Air Corps comes in the morning and they can’t fly at night.”

He pleaded with people to be extra careful in Killarney and all countryside over the coming months.

“When the ground is dry, it can take very little for a fire to take hold. There's a huge cost to the nation as well as a cost to the environment and there’s no need for it.

“People need to be so careful because it can cause so much destruction.

"Killarney is one of the most picturesque places in the country if not the world. It’s an awful shame to see it blackened.”

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