Friday 15 November 2019

Signs of life in Curracloe as green shoots rise from ashes

An aerial shot on the front page of the Wexford People on July 24 showing the extent of the damage
An aerial shot on the front page of the Wexford People on July 24 showing the extent of the damage
Green shoots pushing through the fire-blackened dunes at Curracloe

Anna Hayes

Less than two months after a shocking fire ravaged the sand dunes at Curracloe beach, green shoots are starting to appear and it seems that regrowth is very much underway.

Greenery can be seen pushing through the charred earth and Senior Engineer with Wexford County Council Gerry Forde welcomed the development, pointing out that not all of the marram grass in the area had burned down to the root. He said they were constantly monitoring the area and were engaging with experts on the matter.

'Over the next week or two, we hope to bring down an ecological specialist to inspect the area and see if there's anything more we can do to help the process. In certain areas before, we have re-seeded grasses but they were much smaller areas than what burned in July.

He said their main concern now was how long it would take for the grasses and other plant life to grow back.

They would, he said, be asking the council to review the bylaws governing the area to see if there was any way to strengthen them and protect the area further.

In the aftermath of July's devastating blaze, the National Parks and Wildlife Service said that while the affected area was not within their remit, they were gravely concerned by its proximity to the Raven Nature Reserve which they had been patrolling through the summer. They had, they said, put out many campfires during the dry spell.

A spokesperson for the NPWS said, of the weeks following the fire: 'Inspection of The Raven Nature Reserve has continued to be carried out by NPWS staff on a regular basis. There have been no fires or traces of recent fires seen by NPWS staff since that of July 22, 2018.'

They added that while they would expect plant growth, particularly marram grass, to re-establish quickly, fire did have a long term impact on more vulnerable communities of sand dunes such as moss, lichen and invertebrate communities.

The fire, on Sunday, July 22 burned for hours before being brought under control.

Wexford People

Most Read