The Defence Forces are assisting Fire Authorities in Offaly and Laois for the third day fighting a large fire in the Slieve Bloom Mountains.
Two Air Corps helicopters have been deployed to assist Offaly Fire & Rescue Service and Laois Fire & Rescue Service with firefighting operations and over the course of the three days they have dropped over 100,000 litres of water in assisting the local fire services. There were also 75 troops deployed on the ground to assist last Thursday drawn from barracks in Athlone and Kilkenny.
Photo: (Offaly Fire & Rescue Service Facebook)
This is the eighth consecutive day the Defence Forces have deployed assets in a bid to stop the spread of wildfires in remote regions. Following requests from the civil authorities, the Air Corps has responded to requests in Dublin, Wicklow, Limerick, Cork, Tipperary and Offaly and has dropped over 400,000 litres of water using specialised equipment.
Agusta Westland AW139 helicopters have been utilised as they can be equipped with a ‘Bambi’ bucket aerial firefighting system capable of dropping 1,200 litres of water per pass. This amount of water, concentrated in a small areas, makes an immediate impact on wildfires.
Photo: (Courtesy: Irish Defence Forces Press Office)
The Air Corps have also provided a Eurocopter EC135 as a command and control platform and a CASA CN235 Maritime Patrol Aircraft, which is equipped with power sensors and radar, to identify other areas affected throughout Ireland.
Operations are ongoing and the Defence Forces are prepared to continue firefighting operations in support of our communities.