The exceptionally hot, dry summer last year put Meath's Fire Service under intense pressure as wildfires raged across hundreds of acres of bogland and gorsefields in Kildalkey close to Athboy, Co Meath.
The Meath Chronicle covered the unfolding events, updating residents and those affected of emergency services efforts via social media. Facebook Live and Twitter was used to convey the damage the fires caused while User Generated Content helped fill in the gaps and give people living away from the affected zones just how serious a threat to property the fires posed.
The Chronicle became an important outlet for local residents to notify the authorities of their concerns.
Not content with the coverage of the fires, we went out to cover the aftermath and saw the story develop further. The fires had burnt away dense undergrowth to expose tonnes of illegally dumped rubbish which proved just as shocking as the damage caused by the fires. We received a lot of praise for our reportage of what was a unique event.
Web figures for that week were - 50,433 visitors and 72,106 page views, much of it driven from the Frayne Bog / Kildalkey Wild Fires
We believe this was public service journalism at its finest and quite proud of the coverage we delivered.
BREAKING: The word goes out
Meath Fire Service units from Navan, Trim and Kells currently battling gorse and forest fires in Fraine Bog outside Kildalkey...helicopter dousing flames from the air— Meath Chronicle (@meathchronicle) June 29, 2018
More to follow pic.twitter.com/hp7wFGUhgW
Meath Fire Service units from Navan, Trim and Kells currently battling gorse and forest fires in Fraine Bog outside Kildalkey...helicopter dousing flames from the air— Gavan Becton (@GavBecton) June 29, 2018
More to follow pic.twitter.com/O2gO5EBzd0
USER GENERATED CONTENT - Coillte Helicopter scoops water to fight fires
UPDATES: Ongoing updates during the course of the emergency
UPDATES: Facebook Live put to good use!
PROMOTION: Using Social Media to big up our print coverage of the fires
This week's Meath Chronicle front page features Trim-based firefighter Paddy Rispin, who along with his brave colleagues in Meath Fire Service, fought a five day battle to keep ferocious Frayne Bog wildfires at bay. The full dramatic story is inside. #journalismmatters pic.twitter.com/eKV0hynyFN— Meath Chronicle (@meathchronicle) July 3, 2018
INTERVIEWS: The only female firefighter based in Navan, Anita Whiston, was left exhausted by the fires
VIDEO shot of the aftermath of the fires and the levels of dumping exposed by the fires
PICTURES...Covering the dumping angle in pic galleries
Original Video of exposed waste after the fires
COMMENT: We repurposed video to run comment pieces on the devastating effects the fire had and the aftermath