Department issues red forest fire warning for weekend

A red forest fire warning has been issued by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine for the coming bank holiday weekend.

Issued yesterday, Thursday, May 28, the warning will come into effect at 12:00pm today and remain in place until 12:00pm on Monday, June 1.

In a brief notice on social media, the department said:

We have issued a red forest fire warning – the most extreme warning level – arising from current weather patterns and expected level of risk during the bank holiday weekend.

“The warning is in place until Monday, June 1,” the department added.

In the warning, it was noted that: “Arising from current weather patterns, an extreme forest fire risk is deemed to exist in all areas where hazardous fuels such as dead grasses, heather and gorse exist.

“An anticyclone of 1038hPa [hectopascal – unit of pressure] centred over the North Sea will track steadily eastwards and generate light to moderate easterly airflows over Ireland during the next 24 hours, consistent with a ‘Type A’ fire weather pattern.

This type of pattern has previously been associated with extreme fire behaviour under Irish conditions.

The department alert noted that the European Forest Fire Information System (EFFIS) Fine Fuels Moisture Code is now in excess of 85 and Initial Spread index values are in excess of 10 across much of Ireland.

This indicates high fire spread potential and difficulty of suppression in typical upland fuels, the department said.

“Fire behaviour will be influenced by light to moderate easterly and south easterly winds that may exceed 20kph in coastal areas. Fire behaviour may be moderated by increased live growth in places.

“Overall, forest fire risk is likely to be compounded by ignitions risks associated with expected high levels of public activity in fire-prone areas during the bank holiday weekend,” the warning highlighted.

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