Leitrim's Chief Fire Officer calls for vigilance as fire risk remains high

Leitrim Observer Reporter

Reporter:

Leitrim Observer Reporter

DANGER: Local TD sends THIS message to anyone thinking of setting a gorse fire

Gorse and forest fires have caused millions of euros damage already this year.

Leitrim's Chief Fire Officer, Finian Joyce, has renewed an appeal for vigilance in regard to illegal fires in coming days.

With temperatures expected to top 25C later this week, Mr Joyce said that it was vital that people report any fires immediately to emergency services.

The Co Leitrim Chief Fire Officer said with high temperatures forecast for the rest of the week, there is a considerable high risk of further outbreak of bog/ gorse/ forest fires occurring.

“Forest owners, farmers, rural dwellers and other countryside users are asked to be vigilant to help prevent the outbreak of such fires occurring,” he told our reporter.

It is an offence to cut, grub, burn or otherwise destroy any vegetation growing on any land not then cultivated between March 1 and August 31 in any year. This includes the burning of rushes, gorse and heather on bogs.

It is illegal at any time for households to burn rubbish and this practice is even more dangerous at this time of year as a stray spark could cause a serious fire.

Members of the public are asked to report any suspicious or illegal activity to Gardai immediately. Landowners found responsible for lighting fires illegally will be issued fire bills by the fire authority.

“Landowners wishing to carry out prescribed burning during the legal period for doing so, must notify in writing all forest owners within one mile, and the local Garda station between 7 and 35 days in advance of any controlled burning operation,” explained Mr Joyce.

“All controlled burning operations should be notified to the Fire Service before burning commences. Landowners found burning illegally could face fines, imprisonment and Single Farm Payment penalties, where applicable.

“If you see a fire, do not delay; report it to the Fire and Emergency Services straight away.

“Do not wait for somebody else to make the call. Dial 999 or 112,” urged the Co Leitrim Chief Fire Officer.

“Give clear details as regards location, where at all possible, and any other useful information such as the size of the fire, wind direction, proximity to dwellings or forestry etc.

“You will not be billed by the fire service or local authority for making the call. Do not attempt to tackle fires alone or without adequate training or protective equipment.”