Catas­tro­phe avoided as neigh­bours put out blaze

Gorey Guardian - - NEWS - By ANNA HAYES

A FARMER in the May­glass area is ap­peal­ing to peo­ple to be care­ful with fire and dried fo­liage fol­low­ing what could have been a cat­a­strophic in­ci­dent on the rail­way line just a few yards from his land.

An­thony Browne, who has farm land and forestry along the dis­used rail­way line be­tween May­glass and Bridgetown, found him­self play­ing fire­man on Thurs­day morn­ing last when his neigh­bour called him seek­ing help to ex­tin­guish a fire just along­side the track.

‘My neigh­bour was out check­ing fields when he spot­ted the smoke and found the fire on the train tracks. He tried to put it out him­self with wa­ter but wasn’t able to so he rang around to the neigh­bours and got hold of me. To­gether we man­aged to put out the fire.’

An­thony be­lieves that a dis­as­ter had been averted, point­ing out that only for his neigh­bour had spot­ted the smoke, and the weather had been par­tic­u­larly mild with no wind, they could have been look­ing at se­ri­ous dam­age to the area.

He re­marked: ‘There’s about four or five houses in the im­me­di­ate area, and quite a few farms. Be­tween farm and forestry, you’d prob­a­bly be look­ing at about 500 acres that, I think, if the fire had spread would have been de­stroyed. If it had ran, who knows where it would have stopped? You have the school in May­glass, a lot of houses in Bridgetown and a lot of land and houses be­tween here and there. I don’t think any­one would have been able to get it un­der con­trol.’

He said it was not the first time bon­fires had been lit along the train tracks but be­lieved that those light­ing them meant no harm.

‘We were all young once and I have kids of my own. I’m not try­ing to be a kill-joy but I’d plead with peo­ple to be more care­ful in fu­ture. Ev­ery­thing is so dry at the mo­ment that even the slight­est spark could do se­ri­ous dam­age. Peo­ple need to be mind­ful of the con­di­tions we have and have a bit of re­spect for our coun­try­side.’

On Thurs­day night, An­thony brought his dog for a walk along the train track, partly to keep an eye out for any fur­ther dan­ger. He said that the track was well used by walk­ers and it struck him how suit­able it would be for a green­way in the fu­ture.

Lo­cal coun­cil­lor Frank Sta­ples sim­i­larly ap­pealed to peo­ple to avoid light­ing fires in ar­eas of such dry veg­e­ta­tion, point­ing out that a num­ber of farm­ers could have had land and forestry wiped out.

‘It was lucky that some­one spot­ted it or it could have done in­cred­i­bly se­ri­ous dam­age to the area.’

Tack­ling the fire in May­glass. Well dig­ging in progress at Wex­ford Race­course. The view over Ross­lare last week.

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