06 Oct 2022

High fire risk warning issued for entire country

The National Parks & Wildlife Service (NPWS) has appealed to members of the public to be conscious of the dangers posed by fire and to exercise extreme caution over this high-risk period.

Property under threat from new west Donegal fire

Don't be the cause of wildfires during the current heatwave.

The National Parks & Wildlife Service (NPWS) has appealed to members of the public to be conscious of the dangers posed by fire especially during the current heatwave.

Low rainfall and warm weather has left vegetation very dry and the danger posed to National Parks, Nature Reserves, forestry, native woodland, farm and bog land is much higher than normal.

Members of the public intending to visit National Parks and Nature Reserves are reminded to adhere to regulations regarding the lighting of fires.

It is an offence under the Wildlife Act 1976 to light any fire which causes or is likely to cause the burning of any vegetation within 1 mile (1.6km) of a woodland or Nature Reserve, and those doing so may face prosecution.

The public is reminded that the use of barbeques or open fires is strictly prohibited and vehicles must not be parked at site entrances or impede emergency vehicle access and may be towed away if causing an obstruction.

Malcolm Noonan TD, Minister of State for Heritage and Electoral Reform, emphasised the key safety message:
“The message is simple – be careful. Don’t light fires or barbecues, keep access roads clear for emergency services, and if you’re camping, let someone know where you’ll be. There is a high risk of fire right now. Be vigilant and keep yourself and the wild places we all love safe.”

Fires are particularly destructive in spring and summer as it is prime season for nesting birds, breeding mammals, and the regeneration of growth. They can cause irreparable damage to our native woodland that can take centuries to recover. Any fires within our high conservation value designated Natura 2000 landscapes (SAC/SPA) have a long-lasting negative impact on biodiversity. These fires also add to our Carbon emissions and global warming.

In order to reduce the incidence of wildfires, Conservation Rangers and other NPWS staff will be monitoring and patrolling the network of sites over the coming days and remain in close liaison with the Gardaí and the Fire Service. NPWS will provide aerial surveillance (involving NPWS staff monitoring from helicopters) at some of the National Parks in the coming days. The NPWS would ask the public to cooperate with staff and comply with their requests during their visit to NPWS sites during this high-risk period.

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