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Ireland, Scotland and Wales affected by wildfires

Warmest and driest April on record leaves thousands of hectares ravaged by fire across parts of Ireland, Scotland and Wales.

Warmest and driest April on record leaves thousands of hectares ravaged by fire across parts of Ireland, Scotland and Wales.

Walkers and visitors to the countryside were warned not to light campfires as blazes destroyed thousands of hectares of land and put homes and livestock in danger.

Environmentalists said the fires could not have come at a worse time, affecting nesting birds and breeding mammals.

In Wales, grass fires burning in the Brecon Beacons National Park were described as the worst seen in 30 years. Military assistance had to be requested to help tackle the fire which burnt for three days and left nearly 2,000 acres of the National Park scorched.

The outbreak of wild fires in Ireland was said to be unprecedented. Army troops and helicopters were called to tackle wildfires in Donegal as thousands of acres were burning in other parts of the country.

In Scotland, hundreds of firefighters battled wild fires across the Highlands and the Western Isles. A number of fires led to the evacuation of homes and the airlifting of hillwalkers to safety.

The National Trust for Scotland said the fires devastated key areas of Scottish native woodland. The largest fire, in Torridon, Wester Ross, destroyed about 10 square miles of vegetation.

April was the driest and warmest on record in Ireland with temperatures around 3 degrees above normal for the time of year.

Coastal resorts in West Wales reported record numbers of visitors over the Easter Bank Holiday when temperatures peaked at 24°C in parts of Wales, the hottest for more than 25 years.

In Scotland, the UK Met Office said April was the warmest and sunniest in the south of Scotland since records began 100 years ago.

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