Danger rating for forest fires upgraded

The danger rating for forest fires has been upgraded to Condition Orange by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine.

Arising from the current weather forecast, associated with Atlantic high pressure systems, a high fire risk has been issued in all areas where hazardous fuels exist.

The warning has been valid since 12:00pm yesterday (Tuesday, May 22) and – pending significant rainfall and further meteorological review – will remain in place until 12:00pm on Wednesday, May 30.

It is projected that risk will increase significantly within the next 24 hours or so; it is then expected to be sustained past the weekend and into the coming week.

An increased ignition risk is associated with increased human activity in high risk areas owing to fine weather, particularly areas associated with turf cutting activities and areas adjacent to urban centres.

“Recently, increased live growth in upland vegetation, low to moderate wind speeds and localised high humidity may moderate fire behaviour where conditions permit,” an advisory message from the department said.

Advice to forest owners and managers

The department has advised all forest owners and managers to prepare for likely outbreaks of fire.

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

Meanwhile, other relevant contingencies – such as insurance and helicopter contracts – should also be checked and confirmed, the department advised.

Concluding, a statement from the department said: “Forest owners, farmers, rural dwellers and other countryside users are asked to be extremely vigilant regarding fire activity, to report any suspicious or illegal activity to the Gardai and to report all fires immediately to the fire and emergency services via: 112 or: 999.

“The department recommends that forest owners and managers should consider the fire mitigation measures that they can put in place to help prevent loss or damage to forest resources through fire.”

More information on measures that can be put in place is available online.