Army brought in to tackle large gorse fire in Donegal

Irish Air Corps helicopters and army personnel have been brought in to help firefighters battle a large gorse fire in Co Donegal.

A number of homes are at risk in the Annagry and Loughanure areas after the blaze broke out at around 6am on Monday and spread rapidly.

Crews have working to control the fire for several hours.

Minister for Education and Donegal TD Joe McHugh said: “My heart goes out to the people and communities of Anagaire (Annagry), Loch an Iuir (Loughanure) and Cionn Caslach and west Donegal.

“I’ve liaised directly with the chief fire officer, Defence Minister Paul Kehoe and officials in his department.

“The Air Corps has been dispatched along with soldiers from Finner to support the crews on the ground.

“Please take care out there, stay safe and follow the advice of the authorities on the ground.

“We have brave, professional crews fighting to save property and protect life. And a huge credit to the people of the area for the massive community response to be there for one another.”

The cause of the fire has not been established.

Meanwhile, police in Northern Ireland believe a fire that spread across the Mourne Mountains on Sunday night may have been started deliberately.

Holidaymakers at a caravan park were forced to evacuate after the wildfire broke out at Tollymore Forest in Newcastle.

More than 50 firefighters battled the blaze which broke out shortly after 8.30pm.

Detectives have appealed for witnesses.

Detective Chief Inspector Will Tate said: “The fire caused widespread damage and led to a number of evacuations, including from a nearby caravan park.

“Our colleagues in the Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service have now determined that it is likely that the fire was started deliberately and I am appealing to people to assist us in our investigation.

“Anyone with information or who may have seen something that could be useful to investigators, please contact us on 101.”