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Killarney men experience one of California’s worst fires

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By Michelle Crean

As one of the largest blazes in California's history rages on, two Killarney locals tell the Killarney Advertiser this week just how bad the situation is.

 

[caption id="attachment_33918" align="alignleft" width="239"] DEVASTATING: Kieran Guerin says the fires are so devastating that he has witnessed a friend lose his house.[/caption]

Kieran Guerin from Gortroe moved to San Francisco in 2003 and then on to Napa in 2011, and says the fires are so devastating that he has witnessed a friend lose his house.

Tony Lynch, originally from Countess Grove, lives about an hour's drive from the worst affected areas but says that they are not immune to its affects as heavy smoke is continuously in the air.

The fires are so dangerous that smoke has even travelled 5,000 miles to Europe and experts say California is experiencing its worst fire year since the Great Fire of 1910 tore through more than three million acres.

It first ignited on September 4 burning through 286,519 acres to date, destroying one hundred structures with another 6,723 under threat. Authorities say that only 32 percent of the fire is contained so far.

"This year's fires steadily grew and honestly most of them are still going with over 18,000 firemen battling the blaze now," Kieran said. "So far 15 people have died. This one is still about 25 miles north of me but the one three years ago was no more than a quarter mile from my house with the wind fanning the blaze right towards where we live. As we speak there is zero chance of rain, so we have at least six more weeks of fire season ahead of us, while all the time hoping that it doesn't come back our way."

He explained one experience that he'll never forget.

"About a month ago my girlfriend went from voluntary evacuation to mandatory so had to drive alongside the freeway watching the fires burning either side as we drove her and her animals south and away from the fires. Packing up a house and picking what is essential to take and leave is not an easy thing to do. How do you decide what is and isn't important in a situation where your life may be in danger? It really comes down to what you can fit in your car and get the hell out before it's too late. This I know only too well because a friend who lost his house got out yet a neighbour of his refused the firemen's orders to evacuate yet the wind changed direction and burnt everything on the other side of the road from his house leaving his dwelling untouched and scorch marks all the way up to his door. Also my neighbour was out at our friend’s winery as they tried to save as much as they could yet the fires burnt it to the ground after they had gotten out."

Just last week the skies were almost pitch black at midday which was "quite freaky", he added.

"When it subsided, it turned to a dark orange sky which was like the apocalypse we've all seen in every doomsday movie ever made. Ironically, Hollywood got this one correct. As my late mom Teresa's saying goes "go mbeirimíd beo ar an am seo arís"."

[caption id="attachment_33920" align="alignleft" width="257"] Tony Lynch from Countess Grove[/caption]

For Tony Lynch, originally from Countess Grove who lives and works as a teacher in CA, say they too are suffering very poor air quality.

“We would wake up in the morning to a car covered in ash and could smell the burning as if there was a camp fire nearby, but the nearest fires were at least an hour’s drive away. Many people experienced breathing issues due to the smoke and with COVID being a respiratory virus, it made some even more anxious.”

 

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Relief as indoor dining finally resumes

By Michelle Crean After almost 500 days of closures the sense of relief was evident this week as restaurants, cafés and bars were finally allowed to welcome customers back in. Some had reopened for outdoor dining previously to help keep their businesses afloat but it was back to normal on Monday. According to the new […]

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By Michelle Crean

After almost 500 days of closures the sense of relief was evident this week as restaurants, cafés and bars were finally allowed to welcome customers back in.

Some had reopened for outdoor dining previously to help keep their businesses afloat but it was back to normal on Monday.

According to the new rules as set out by Fáilte Ireland and the Government, in order for customers to access indoor service, they must show proof that they are fully vaccinated or have recovered from COVID-19 in the past six months. Those who are not yet vaccinated can only be served outside.

A maximum of six people aged 13 and over are allowed per table and it’s advised that face coverings be worn when not at the table, there is no time limit, customers can only eat or drink at a table and not at the bar or counter, and one person must give their details for contract tracing purposes. Live music and dancing is not allowed.

The Killarney Advertiser spoke to a number of businesses this week and overall the feeling was relief that they can finally get back to normal service but the issue of staffing still remains.

Brian Murphy from Courtney’s Bar said he was feeling nervous.

“I’m feeling nervous as we don’t have enough staff,” he said. “It’s a Monday so hopefully we can cope. Things will settle down and we’ll find a level we are all happy with.”

At the Porterhouse Restaurant Lee O’Callaghan said “It’s great to be back open and have people coming into the restaurant”.

“Hopefully we have a long season after being closed for so long.”

Staff at Reidy’s, Ellen Shannon, Rory Carroll and Jack Sweeney, added that they’re delighted to return to indoor dining.

“Hopefully we get back to normal soon and to brighter days ahead.”

At Jimmy Brien’s Bar in Fair Hill, customers echoed the same sentiments about being finally open.

“We are delighted to be back,” Danjoe Aherne said.

“We appreciate everything Alan Breen has done for us. We’re glad to be back home again!” Charlie Buckingham said.

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Time to get your skates on!

By Sean Moriarty People of Killarney are being urged to have their say on a new skateboard park before next week’s deadline. A public consultation on the project has been launched by Kerry County Council. Cllr Donal Grady, who first put forward the idea of a Killarney skateboard park in 2018, is urging the people […]

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By Sean Moriarty

People of Killarney are being urged to have their say on a new skateboard park before next week’s deadline.

A public consultation on the project has been launched by Kerry County Council.

Cllr Donal Grady, who first put forward the idea of a Killarney skateboard park in 2018, is urging the people of the town to have their say.

It is proposed to build the park on land adjacent to the Killarney Sports and Leisure Centre with help and support from the KDYS.

“In 2017 a group of skateboard enthusiasts approached me, they had no designated safe area to enjoy their sport. Sport is vital for youths, stakeboarding increases metabolism, improves balance and enhances coordination use,” Cllr Grady told the Killarney Advertiser.

“Skateboarding is now an Olympic sport. I commend Kerry County Council, management, engineers and the planning team for getting the project to this stage, it’s now up to the people of Killarney to have their say. It’s vital positive submissions are lodged by Wednesday, August 25,”

Submissions can be lodged to the Playground Unit, Finance Dept, Kerry County Council.

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