The Department of Agriculture has issued a RED warning for fires this week due to current dry conditions and forecast high temperatures. Temperatures are due to remain in the mid-20s for much of this week and the fire warning is to remain in place until 12 pm on Friday 29th June.
Arising from the current prolonged high-pressure weather patterns, high temperatures and effective drought conditions, an extreme fire risk is deemed to exist in all areas where hazardous fuels exist. This meteorological risk is further compounded by high levels of public activity and related ignitions risks associated with the fine weather.
The Department advise at this point that all outdoor use of fires, barbeques and other open ignition sources be avoided on forest lands and in other high-risk areas until further notice. Extreme caution is also advised with respect to haymaking and the use of machinery and other agricultural activity that may also present a risk of fire in dry vegetation on cultivated land types in current conditions
Dublin Fire Brigade have also asked people not to light barbecues outside of designated areas and to always take care when disposing of cigarettes. Coillte staff have been fighting a forest fire at Barnaslingan Wood for the past nine days, along with Dublin Fire Brigade. Teams are working around the clock to keep the fire contained, but rain is needed to dampen the fire and cool off the embers in the ground.
Forest fires pose a serious health and safety risk to the public and to people working in the forest sector. They are very difficult to control and put firefighters and forest personnel at great risk in their efforts to extinguish them.
They cause widespread ecological and environmental damage to wildlife and to habitats that can take years to recover from, especially at this time of the year when many birds and other animals are raising their young.
They also cost significant amounts of money to Coillte and private forest owners; in the costs of operations to control the blaze, in the loss of the value of the standing timber and the additional costs in managing and replanting the burnt areas.
With the RED weather warning in place, it is very likely that there will be more forest fires and Coillte asks people to remain vigilant and report any fires they see to the local fire brigade.
Coillte recommend the following steps to prevent forest fires at this time
- Do not light fires and be careful of all activity involving fires
- Report any suspicious activity you may observe
- Report any forest fires you see to the local fire brigade
- Do not approach forest fires under any circumstance, they are extremely dangerous
- Keep access points and forest entrances clear for emergency services