A farmer has described how he was nearly burned alive while trying to rescue his sheep from the wildfire that damaged half of the Killarney National Park at the weekend.
Kerry farmer Gene Tangney said some of his sheep are missing and he fears they were killed in the blaze, which destroyed more than 2,500 hectares of land.
“It was frightening. What was doing all the harm was the strong wind. You could be there quenching the fire and the next thing the wind would change and fire would be on you and you would have to save your own life then, it was that bad,” he said.
The fire spread from the southern side of the 25,000-hectare park northwards over Purple Mountain.
Mr Tangney, who lives in the Black Valley, near Killarney spent the weekend trying to save his sheep from being engulfed by the fire. He said it was down to the work of fire rescue and park rangers that the whole park had now burned down.
The Irish Farmers’ Association said the devastating fire was not caused by farmers setting fire to gorse.
IFA chairman Kenny Jones said the farmers were devastated by the fire and called for compensation for those affected.
“Farmers beside the park are big losers here as well, the loss of grazing and making their land ineligible for payment purposes,” he said.
“We in IFA will be fighting to get compensation on behalf of these farmers. It was burnt in circumstances beyond our control.”