A Condition Orange, High Fire Risk warning was put in place late last week by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine.
The warning remains in effect until 12 pm, Thursday the 28th of June. The Department have warned that this warning is due to the current dry conditions, with a high fire risk deemed to exist in any and all areas, where hazardous fuels exist.
Most at risk -
The highest ignition risk, according to the Department, is deemed to exist in public amenity areas adjacent to urban centres and on areas of open at risk from illegal burning of waste.
“Increased growth levels and live fuel moisture in upland fuels, coupled with high humidity levels can be expected to moderate fire behaviour and spread rates at this point, subject to local terrain and wind conditions.”, the Department continued in their warning.
The Department have advised all forestry owners and managers to prepare for likely fire outbreaks. They advise that fire plans, fire lines, and fire suppression equipment reviewed in preparation for any fires, while they also advise checking on insurance, helicopter contracts and other vital information.
They have listed six golden rules to follow in times of high risks to forest fires. These include:
- Risk Assessment - Carry out a Risk assessment of your property, checking for potentially hazardous materials such as vegetation. Always double-check routes in and out of the land.
- Prepare - This is where the forest plan comes in. This should include a map of all road access routes, assembly points, equipment and nearby water sources. Each plan should contain emergency contact details also, as well as numbers for local and private foresters, neighbouring farm owners and those who may be needed to help. Ensure all roadways are clear of any instructions, that suitable signage is displayed on gates and barriers and that fire-fighting tools are ready for action.
- Vigilance - Always stay Vigilant during times where there is a high-risk fire period. Up to Five patrols are recommended in high-risk areas. The earlier a forest fire is noticed, the less damage caused, making vigilance key in this battle.
- Obey the Law - Do not carry out any controlled burning. It is illegal to do so on any land not then cultivated between March 1st and August 31st. If you notice any suspicious or illegal burning activities nearby, report them to Gardaí immediately. Landowners wishing to carry out legally permitted prescribed burning must notify in writing all forest owners within one mile of the wood, and the local Garda station, between 7 and 35 days in advance of the burning operation. All burning operations should be notified to the Fire Service, via the control centre by telephoning 112/999 BEFORE burning commences. Those who are found burning illegally, will face fines, potential imprisonment and even face Single Farm payment penalties.
- Report Fires Immediately - As always is the case, should you spot a forest fire, report it to the Fire and Emergency services ASAP. If you make the call, you will not be billed. Always give clear, precise information when making the call, making the location easier for emergency services to find.
- Report Losses - If you have suffered the loss or destruction of forestry due to fires, report it as soon as possible to local Gardaí and to the Department of Agriculture.