Units of Laois Fire and Rescue from Portlaoise, Mountmellick, Rathdowney and Mountrath stations are currently tackling a gorse fire in the Slieve Bloom mountains this evening.
The blaze started earlier today on Clonlawn Hill near Ballyfin and quickly spread as fire units reacted to try and bring it under control.
The cause of the fire is unknown at this stage.
“Despite the early time of year, weather conditions today meant very rapid fire pread rates,” tweeted Laois Fire and Rescue.
Smoke was visible for miles, with the flames particularly prominent once darkness fell.
Gorse fires are mostly man-made and spread rapidly, even at this time of the year when they aren’t as dry as they would be during the summer.
In the summer of 2018 fire fighters battled a massive fire in the Slieve Blooms for a number of days.
On that occcasion, the Air Corps were also deployed to assist Laois and Offaly Fire Services and dropped over 65,000 litres of water to bring it under control.
Fires of this nature can cause significant damage to forestry in the area as well as to wildlife in the mountains.
Crews from Mountrath, Portlaoise, Mountmellick & Rathdowney stations spent today dealing with a large fire on Conlawn Hill near Ballyfin today. Despite the early time of year, weather conditions today meant very rapid fire spread rates. The legal season for burning of has ended. pic.twitter.com/MjehZ9Sh4S
— Laois Fire & Rescue (@LaoisFireRescue) March 7, 2021