21/04/2015: Minister Humphreys provides update on damage caused to Killarney National Park following recent fire
Minister Humphreys provides update on damage caused to Killarney National Park following recent fire.
The Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Heather Humphreys, has today (Tuesday 21 April 2015 )said that initial analysis carried out by her officials indicates that the recent fire at Killarney NationalPark affected ore than 1,000 hectares of land, causing serious damage to habitats and wildlife and thousands of euro in material damage to park infrastructure. Minister Humphreys has also encouraged anyone with any information on what caused the fires to contact the Gardaí.
Speaking today Minister Humphreys said:
“A team from my Department’s National Parks and Wildlife Service has been surveying the damage by the recent major fire caused to Killarney National Park. They estimate that 1,000 hectares of the Park were affected by the large fire over the weekend of April 11th.
“The upland areas were most seriously affected; with heather, gorse and mollinia (grass) burnt across a large area of the south eastern side of the Park. These habitats are very important for flora and fauna in general, including ground-nesting birds, small mammals and insects. It is difficult to quantify the level of ecological damage caused by the fire and it will take a long time for all of these habitats to recover.
“On a more positive note, the woodlands generally escaped serious damage. Damage to park fencing was not as bad as originally thought, and very little permanent damage was caused to the board-walks, which are so popular for visitors along the Kerry Way.
“It is clear to me that the damage would have been a lot worse were it not the valiant efforts of the emergency services. The combined efforts of the fire service, the fire service, the Air Corps, Kerry County Council and the NPWS staff helped to contain this blaze and the damage it caused. I would like to once again commend their work.
“The NPWS is co-operating fully with the Gardaí and the Department of Agriculture on this matter. I would encourage anyone with any information on the cause of the fire, no matter how unimportant or trivial it may seem, to contact the Gardaí. The threat posed by illegal burning is extremely serious, and it is incumbent on all members of the public to comply with the law and undertake burning in a controlled manner.”