Howth Fire: A raging gorse fire destroys a huge amount of vegetation in Howth

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Residents living as far north as Drogheda could smell smoke from a destructive gorse fire on Howth Hill yesterday, he emerged.

Strong winds sent plumes of smoke across the city’s north yesterday afternoon as Dublin firefighters attempted to contain the peninsula’s latest blaze.

A nationwide amber forest fire alert, which had been in place since last week, expired at midnight Monday.

Howth continues to be a flashpoint for gorse fires this summer, due to heavy vegetation growth and extremely dry conditions.

A recent outbreak on the south face of the hill raged for eight days before being brought under control by units of the Dublin Fire Department and the Irish Air Corps last week.

A helicopter – using a ‘Bambi’ bucket to collect water from the sea – was deployed to help fight the blaze, which began on June 22.

Firefighters have revealed that yesterday’s Howth fire was “a separate arrow” that destroyed “a significant amount” of vegetation.

He was spotted at the back of properties on Carrickbrack Road all the way to Howth Golf Club.

In a post posted on social media, firefighters in Dublin advised households to close windows and doors as a precaution due to the widespread spread of smoke dispersed by high winds.

Residents of Balbriggan in northern County Dublin – and even as far away as Drogheda – said they could smell the smoke from the gorse fire in Howth.

Dubin Fire Department wildfire expert Darren O’Connor told Independent.ie the scene in Howth was “almost apocalyptic” due to extensive damage to vegetation.

He said the fire destroyed natural habitats for wildlife and created “a barren landscape” at the top of the hill.

“These types of fires are extremely resource intensive and the crews are absolutely exhausted,” he revealed.

He said three fire engines and a tanker were brought to the scene and a crew from North Strand station stayed there overnight.

In addition, a “whipping machine” was used by Fingal County Council to cut brush and create a fire break.

Strong easterly and southeasterly winds made the blaze – which still burned today – difficult to control and caused the smoke to spread widely.

The onset of rain should improve the situation in Howth, O’Connor added.

Dublin firefighters have reminded day trippers to dispose of cigarettes responsibly and not to use barbecues or light campfires when visiting Howth.

Motorists have also been advised not to park on grass edges, as heat from an exhaust pipe can potentially start a fire.

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