The National Parks and Wildlife Service has described the practice of deliberately setting illegal gorse fires in rural areas as reckless and irresponsible.

A fire in Killarney National Park in County Kerry last night scorched around 150 acres of land.

The cause of the fire is being investigated.

Three units of firefighters from Killarney and Kenmare in Co Kerry battled the gorse fire last night.

The fire came two days after Kerry County Council issued an appeal to landowners and members of the public not to set illegal gorse fires.

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The practice of burning land to drive grass growth is widespread in many parts of the country each spring. It has been condemned by wildlife and conservation groups.

Killarney Fire Brigade was alerted at around 7pm last night to the fire in the Muckross area of Killarney National Park.

Two units of the fire service from Killarney attended the fire, which was already burning over several acres. A third unit was called from Kenmare for back-up.

It took four hours to bring the blaze under control.

The fire's progress was stalled by the shoreline of Muckross Lake.

On Friday, Kerry County Council appealed to landowners not to place additional strain on emergency services at a time when those services are already involved in supporting the national response to the Covid-19 outbreak.