The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM) has issued a Condition Orange forest fire warning for this weekend.

The alert came into force at midday today (Friday, May 27) and will remain in place until Monday (May 30) at midday.

The department explained that the warning is due to current weather patterns.

“A high-pressure weather system which is currently located to the south of Ireland will move northwards and influence northerly airflows with low to moderate humidity and moderate windspeeds as the weekend progresses,” it stated.

Moderate windspeeds would influence the behaviour of any potential fire, while strong winds, above the “critical 30km/h threshold”, may occur in some northern and eastern parts.

“A high fire risk is deemed to exist in all areas where hazardous fuels such as dead grasses and shrub fuels such as heather and gorse exist.

“Fire behaviour will be moderated by increased live fuel availability and high live fuel moisture levels in upland areas,” the department explained.

Forest owners and managers have again been advised to prepare for “likely outbreaks of fire”.

Fire lines, plans and suppression equipment should be reviewed and made ready.

DAFM asked forest owners, farmers, rural dwellers and other countryside users to be extremely vigilant in the coming days and report any incidents to emergency services.

It also appealed to members of the public not to light fires in and around forests or open land.

The department noted that it is illegal to burn vegetation growing on any land not then cultivated between March 1 and August 31.

Landowners wishing to carry out legally-permitted prescribed burning must notify nearby forest owners, local Gardaí and the fire service before any burning is done.