Given the recent spell of dry weather, Leitrim fire service has been busy dealing with a number of bog, gorse and forest fires. The dry weather is forecast to continue and there is a considerable high risk of further outbreak fires occurring, according to Leitrim Chief Fire Officer, Finian Joyce.
Forest owners, farmers, rural dwellers and other countryside users are asked to be vigilant to help prevent the outbreak of such fires occurring.
"Given the current emergency arising from the Covid-19 pandemic, it is more important than ever that no one should start an illegal fire in the countryside. We need to reduce the unnecessary diversions of emergency services resources. There has been an increase in the use of outdoor amenities and recreations sites by the public since the onset of Covid-19. Forest users and visitors are asked to behave responsibly, observe correct physical distancing practice and to park considerately so as not to impede access to emergency vehicles to sites," said the Chief Fire Officer.
It is an offence to cut, grub, burn or otherwise destroy any vegetation growing on any land not then cultivated between 1st day of March and 31st day of August in any year. Landowners found burning illegally could face fines, imprisonment and Single Farm Payment penalties, where applicable. Report any suspicious or illegal activity to the 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. All controlled burning operations should also be notified to the Environment section of Leitrim County Council at least 72 hours BEFORE burning commences.
This can be done by calling 071 9620005 ext 802 or by email at email@example.com and giving further details. An application for controlled burning is also available on Leitrim County Council’s website.
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 112 / 999. 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.