Serious warning issued after recent bog fires

Following a number of recent bog fires in the county which took up hours of valuable fire service time, Finian Joyce Chief Fire Officer of Leitrim County Council has issued a stern warning about the cost of these illegal fires on the tax payer, the burden on resources and the dangers associated.

Following a number of recent bog fires in the county which took up hours of valuable fire service time, Finian Joyce Chief Fire Officer of Leitrim County Council has issued a stern warning about the cost of these illegal fires on the tax payer, the burden on resources and the dangers associated.

Fire brigade units from Drumshanbo and Carrick-on-Shannon spent over six hours putting out a bog fire in the Aughacashel area last Thursday evening, March 29. This fire followed hot of the heels of recent deliberate burnings in the Mohill and Manorhamilton areas which were lit by farmers.

“In 2011 attendance at bog/forest fires accounted for approximately 20% of the total callouts of Leitrim fire service for the year and the total cost to the taxpayers in Leitrim was almost e100,000. We are anxious to reduce this figure this year,”

Finian Joyce told the Leitrim Observer. He said it also “places a heavy burden on the fire services and other agencies in dealing with these incidents at this time of year.”

Last year’s serious bog/gorse fires in May cost the council almost e80,000, it was the worst fire in living memory, burned for 36 hours and destroyed one family home and over 1,000 acres of land near Dromahair.

We are now entering the high-risk period for bog and forest fires, (Mid March - May) but the recent dry weather added to the risk of serious fires and the burden brought on local emergency resources.

All landowners and members of the public are being asked to be especially vigilant over the next few weeks to help reduce the possibility of outbreak of such fires.

The burning of bog land and scrub at this time of year is not just illegal, it can threaten homes, wipe out wildlife, place the lives of firefighters at risk and tie up the emergency services when they may be needed elsewhere.

Arson is a serious crime and the courts may impose heavy prison sentences and/or fines.

The full warning from Leitrim County Council Fire service is in this week’s Leitrim Observer.