Massive farming community effort averts bog fire catastrophe

A massive community effort averted a catastrophe after bog fires broke out in Donadea, Co. Kildare, last week.

“Farmers and other local people worked day and night for around 12 days to deal with fires that spread very quickly and went very close to Irish Industrial Explosives,” said Chris Holton, whose father David co-ordinated the local response along with another farmer, Donno Mullally.

The Holtons, who run a beef enterprise on the Kildare/Meath border, said that Bulrush Horticulture had equipment on standby for events such as this including slurry tankers with rain guns and this was used as well as fire brigade equipment and machinery from local farmers.

‘Whole community came together’

Chris, his dad and his two uncles work for Bulrush Horticulture and Chris was due to start the Leaving Cert on Wednesday. It was a test of a different kind that he, and the other farmers, faced.

Up to 30 local farmers were drawing water to the bog using their own tractors and diesel, night and day. Neighbours did a lot of ground work with shovels and helping to lay pipes. Neighbours dropped over food and water. The whole community came together to play a part. It was great to see.

“It would have been a catastrophe if the fires had reached Irish Explosives. The response from everyone was fantastic. People came from Maynooth; Carbery; Kilcock; Derrinturn; Newtown; Johnstownbridge; and the surrounding areas.

“There is a very strong community spirit in this area and everyone helped to keep the fires at bay,” said the Cloonagh farmer.

“My father remembers fires there in 1995 but they weren’t to the same extent,” Chris said.