After the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine issued a fire risk notice earlier this month, the prolonged spell of dry, warm weather has triggered another warning.

A ‘Condition Orange’ (indicating high fire risk) notice was issued by the department earlier today (Thursday, April 22).

The notice came into effect at 12:00pm today and will remain in effect until the same time on Monday (April 26).

The notice arises from the current high-pressure dominated weather patterns.

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

The risk phase is expected to peak tomorrow, Friday.

Based on recent fire activity, ignition risks appear to be focused on areas with public access, particularly active turf cutting and peatland sites.

The relaxation of some Covid-19 restrictions mean that members of the public can now travel within their respective counties and higher visitor activity levels at recreational sites can be expected in line with fine weather.

Forest visitors are advised that vehicles must not be parked at site entrances or impede emergency service access to forest roads. Visitors should not use barbecues or open fires at any stage.

Fire behaviour and spread rates are likely to be influenced by lower afternoon humidity levels and moderate to fresh easterly winds in many areas.

There is potential for wind speeds to reach or excced the critical 30kph threshold in several regions, and this would significantly increase suppression difficulties.

All forest owners and managers are again advised to prepare for likely outbreaks.

Fire lines, fire plans and suppression equipment should be reviewed and made ready and other relevant contingencies – such as insurance, helicopter contracts etc. – should be checked and confirmed.

“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 Gardaí; and to report all fires immediately to the Fire and Emergency Services via 112/999.