Devastating fire rips through Ireland's Killarney National Park

Cheryl Santa Maria
·10 min read
Devastating fire rips through Ireland's Killarney National Park
Devastating fire rips through Ireland's Killarney National Park
Devastating fire rips through Ireland's Killarney National Park

A damaging fire broke out in Killarney National Park Friday, prompting a large-scale effort to save the treasured biosphere reserve. According to The Irish Examiner up to one-third of the area's approximately 10,000 hectares may have been destroyed.

Two helicopters were deployed to battle the fire which raged all weekend but according to Andrew Macilwraith, Chief Fire Officer, the damage inflicted on the park is "horrendous."

"Not only have some of the oldest oak trees in Ireland been destroyed but also the habits of thousands of animals have also been destroyed," Macilwraith told the Examiner.

Daytime temperatures over the weekend exacerbated the conditions, with dry, windy air fanning the flames. Officials were finally able to bring the fire under control Monday, prompting conservationists to call for a long-term fire prevention plan and for more staffing at the park, the Irish Times reports.

The cause of the fire remains unclear.

Killarney National Park was officially designated a biosphere reserve by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco) in 1981. It is home to numerous oak and evergreen trees, waterfalls, and animal species.

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