Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Simon Coveney TD, has asked farmers, forest owners, forest managers and the public to be alert to the risk of land and forest fires over the coming weeks.
While current weather conditions are highly variable, very high risk fire conditions appear to exist in some parts of the country, in particular the South and South West regions. High fire risk conditions should be anticipated in all Western regions.
A number of grass and gorse fires have already been seen in Co Leitrim in recent weeks and Minister Coveney is now urging land owners, rural dwellers and holiday makers to be vigilant and to help prevent a repeat of the destruction seen two years ago across the country.
Any suspicious activity should be reported to the Gardai and uncontrolled or unattended fires should be reported immediately to the Fire and Emergency Services.
The Minister reminded land owners that under the Wildlife Acts, it is illegal to burn growing vegetation on land not cultivated between 1st March and 31st August and persons engaged in such illegal activity are liable to prosecution.
Farmers who are engaged in such activity may also face penalties on their Direct Payments.