Council urged to consider deploying goats to help prevent future fires in Killiney

Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council has been urged to consider deploying a herd of goats to help prevent the spread of future fires in Killini.

She was called after a serious fire broke out earlier this week, which resulted in the evacuation of 10 homes in the area and two firefighters were seen being treated at a hospital for minor injuries.

Crews worked overnight to contain the outbreak, which began at Mullins Hill at around 5.30 pm on Monday and was still raging the next morning. The Air Corps on Tuesday assisted in the efforts to douse the fire by using bambi buckets to draw out water droplets in the area.

Members of the Dublin Fire Brigade were praised for saving nearby properties, the flames reaching several back gardens and outbuildings during the “extremely challenging” operation.

The incident, described as Dublin’s worst wildfire so far this year, has led to calls for a new land management plan for the wider Killini Hill area involving the use of goats, as presented at Howth last summer. .

A three-year pilot programme, a partnership between Fingal County Council and the Old Irish Goat Society, uses the herd to reduce the height of vegetation and break natural fires on Howth’s Hill.

Traditional grazing schemes supervised by professional shepherds operate successfully in countries such as Greece, Spain and Portugal.

Independent Councilor Hugh Lewis said the Howth Goat program was an interesting initiative that had been considered by Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council.

“The example set in Howth presents an opportunity to permanently mitigate against the increased risk of the Gors fire in Killini in the future,” he said.

“For this reason, I am proposing that the Council explore a similar strategy in consultation with the Dublin Fire Brigade and the residents of Killeeny and Dalkey.”

The Dublin Fire Brigade’s wildfire specialist, Station Officer Darren O’Connor, said the goat program at Howth had helped maintain the fire break on the peninsula by keeping vegetation levels low.

“Fire brakes are similar to building compartments in an apartment building and installing fire doors and preventing the spread from one area to another,” he said. “The greater the length of the flame from the vegetation, the wider the fire has to be.

“Low-ground vegetation produces shorter flame lengths and it is easier to use direct firefighting tactics such as hoses, beaters and backpack sprayers. However, there are many stakeholder engagements for replanting and building fire breaks to assess the ecological impact. is needed.

“The Goat project at Howth is working effectively to maintain the brakes of the existing fire while minimizing the need for mechanical intervention,” he said.

Hans Visser, Biodiversity Officer for Fingle County Council, said the herd at Howth has been increased to 63 goats.

“We’re adding more men because they seem to be a little more effective at dealing with Gorse,” he said. “We are pleased with the way the project is going and have learned a lot in the first year.”

When asked whether a goat program for Killeen would be considered, a spokesman for Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council said: “We have had a fire site at Mullins Hill for several years to ensure that The fire should not spread to adjacent public land.

“We will follow up with the fire services, who we understand were involved/consulted in the Howth project, and will discuss any additional measures deemed appropriate for the site from a fire prevention perspective.”