Massive Destruction of Donegal Wildlife on World Earth Day
Mullaghderg Mountain after the Wildfires
On Easter Monday, a series of wildfires caused widespread destruction to homes, land and wildlife around The Rosses area of Donegal.
Destruction and Devastation
Sadly, these were not the first of the year. In the previous days and weeks, several wildfires had ravaged local villages, and destroyed one home, damaged many others, and devastated wildlife populations.
On Easter Monday, the destruction continued…
In early afternoon, I watched in horror as flames spread across Deeragh, a hill overlooking my village. They were travelling at an alarming rate due to high temperatures and windy conditions.
Shortly after I captured these photographs from my garden, a private helicopter hired by Donegal County Council doused this side of Deeragh with water.
I and many others breathed a HUGE sigh of relief.
However, our relief was short lived.
News reached me of more fires burning near my mother’s childhood home, and the homes of many of my relatives.
Shocked and feeling helpless, I asked for support and prayers from all my social media friends.
It was late evening before I learned that my relatives and their homes were safe. Sadly, two dear friends lost a holiday home, precious belongings and a host of trees planted lovingly over many years.
Throughout the morning and afternoon, social media posts had spread word of the crisis, and HUNDREDS of volunteers travelled to support firefighters and other emergency services.
Volunteers carried spades and beaters, and stood in lines to battle the march of the flames, braving low visibility from the massive clouds of smoke.
Miraculously, no one was badly injured despite many close calls.
It has since been reported that the devastation covers 120 square miles, around the villages of Annagry, Loughanure, Mullaghduff and Kincasslagh.
Under the Wildlife Act 1976 and the Wildlife (Amendment) Act 2000:
“It is an offence to cut, grub, burn or otherwise destroy any vegetation growing on any land not then cultivated between 1 March and 31 August in any year.”
I question why anyone would ignore this legislation and put so many lives at risk?
World Earth Day
It is ironic that Easter Monday was also World Earth Day – and the protection of endangered species was the campaign for 2019.
The Times newspaper of 26 April wrote the following:
“Thousands of endangered birds have been wiped out during a wildfire in gorse land in Co Donegal, a conservation charity has claimed.
Species including the meadow pipit, stonechat and linnet had breeding grounds among the hundreds of acres of gorse.”
You can read the full article HERE
Many other forms of wildlife will have suffered, including badgers, hares, foxes, pheasants, bees…
A SAD and Angry Walk Down Memory Lane
In a recent post A Walk Down Memory Lane I shared with you the beauty surrounding my late mother’s childhood home.
Despite feeling sad and angry, I walked back to bring you photographic evidence of the aftermath.
Hope for the Future
Three weeks later, discussions and questions continue on:
- The causes of these recent fires
- Fire prevention
- Lessons to be learned for the future…
As I walked amid the devastation, I witnessed some little shoots of green emerging from the blackness:
I publish them as a symbol of hope for our future, and I pray that wildfires will no longer visit our area or indeed any other area EVER AGAIN!
Brigid P. Gallagher is a retired natural medicines therapist, passionate organic gardener and author of “Watching the Daisies- Life lessons on the Importance of Slow,” a holistic memoir dedicated to the art of mindfulness and healing from debilitating illness.
She lives in Donegal, Ireland – an area of outstanding natural beauty.
Book Trailer: https://youtu.be/r5GCjaetgZk