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03 Dec 2021

Status Orange high-level fire warning for Leitrim issued until Monday

Kilkenny Kilkenny

A warning has been issued by Teagasc

Teagasc is urging all involved in outdoor activity to exercise extreme caution, and to heed the high-level warning for fires which is in place this week.

The current high pressure dominated weather patterns has resulted in a high fire risk in all areas where hazardous fuels such as dead grasses and shrub fuels such as heather and gorse exist.

John Casey, Teagasc Forestry Development Officer, said: “This risk phase is expected to peak Friday, April 16, but the warning remains in place until Monday April 19. Based on recent fire activity, ignition risks appear to be mainly focussed on areas with public access, particularly peatland sites. Wildfires not only pose a serious risk to property and the rural environment, they also threaten lives directly in their path and by potentially diverting the resources of our emergency services.”

Teagasc is urging famers, land owners, rural dwellers and those using the countryside to be extremely vigilant in light of the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine’s Condition Orange Fire risk alert, and reminds everyone that it is illegal to burn growing vegetation on uncultivated land between March 1 and August 31. Fire Services and forestry teams around the country have already been called on to tackle gorse and scrub fires this month.

The relaxation of some Covid-19 requirements mean that members of the public can now travel within their respective counties. Coupled with a spell of good weather, many people will be outdoors enjoying the Irish countryside, from forest walks to hiking and camping activities.

It is essential that everyone is alert to the danger of fires, in particular adjacent to amenities, private property and forest resources. Teagasc also urges forest owners and forest managers to be vigilant regarding fire over the coming days and to have appropriate measures in place to help prevent loss or damage through fire. These measures include having:

A risk assessment completed
Adequate insurance against fire risk
A current and accurate fire plan in place
Access routes clear
Fire breaks maintained along boundaries
Fire suppression resources at the ready
Cooperation with neighbours and fire patrols planned where required

Teagasc staff will continue to work with Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM), the Fire Services and local interagency groups to support farmers and forest owners in regard to awareness of fire threats, as well as providing training and advice in relation to mitigation of risks. The DAFM Forest Fire Danger Rating can be consulted at www.teagasc.ie/firerisk on the forestry section of the Teagasc website, www.teagasc.ie.

This index provides information on the fire risk and provides a forecast index for the coming days. Working together we can help minimise the current serious threat from fires.

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