An extensive forest fire has spread through large swathes of the Slieve Bloom Mountains on the Laois/Offaly border in the midlands.

The fire spread during the day yesterday and has resulted in a closure of local roads – with smoke spreading far enough to affect drivers on the M7 Dublin-Limerick motorway, according to AA Roadwatch.

Offaly Fire and Rescue Service worked throughout the day to battle the blaze, bringing in helicopter water drops to help contain the inferno.

Image source: Offaly Fire and Rescue Service

Providing an update yesterday on its Facebook page, Offaly Fire and Rescue stated: “We have both Birr and Ferbane Brigades in attendance in Spink.

Coillte is on site also and we are currently concentrating on limiting the spread of the fire along the natural boundaries of the forestry.

“The fire is currently being extinguished using a helicopter and a bambi bucket. This extinguishes the fire and stops any further spread,” the post explained.

Posting the video below on social media, the firefighters included the caption: “In case you have any doubt of the extent of the fire in the Slieve Blooms please have a look at this video.

“Please, please, please, stay away from the area. Do not travel to ‘have a look’.” the post warned.

The fire department urged people to stay away from the blaze and to avoid local roads, adding: “The Cut Road between Clonaslee and Mountrath is now closed.

“All other feeder roads from Kinnitty, Cadamstown, Mountmellick to Slieve Blooms should be avoided.

Image source: Offaly Fire and Rescue Service

“Firefighting operations are continuing and access roads need to be maintained.

Please do not travel to view the fire as you will hamper operations.

“Wind directions can quickly change and you may become isolated and trapped by fire spread. Helicopter water drops will continue,” Offaly’s fire service warned.

Image source: Offaly Fire and Rescue Service

Local publication LaoisToday also posted a video showing the extent of the flames from drone footage on its Facebook page here.