A call has been made for the establishment of rural gorse fire-fighters in the wake of the latest fire in West Donegal.
Up to 60 local people fought the early stages of a blaze in Ranafast earlier today.
Brave locals fought back the fire with shovels before members fo the fire service from a number of stations including Glenties, Gaoth Dobhair, Dungloe and Falcarragh brought the blaze under control.
The fire, which is understood to have started accidentally, was very close to a number of dwellings before it was tamed.
Local county councillor Michael Mac Giolla Easbuig was of a number of local volunteers who rushed to the scene in the early stages.
He said that without the local assistance the fire could easily have destroyed at least one local home.
“There must have been fifty and sixty people beating back the fire and they are a credit to their local community.
“They included the Doherty family who were working with turf when they got the call and they all jumped in the car and rushed to the fire to help.
“There were so many others but I just remember seeing the Doherty family and speaking to them later but everyone showed great courage,” he said.
He thanked local businesses including Stephen O’Donnell’s garage in Crolly, Sharkey’s Bar, The Cope in Annagry and Peter O’Donnell for supplying refreshments for volunteers.
He added that he now thought it was time that the council gives serious consideration to training locals to respond properly to gorse fires.
He added “I am not saying that these volunteers replace the firefighters, they are the professionals.
“What I am saying is that very often locals who are living amongst the gorse are the first on the scene and at least they should be trained in dealing with fires before the professionals arrive.
“Surely there is money being put back into the council which could be spent training and equipping locals in some way when something like this does happen.”Tags: