Minister Doyle launches Coillte’s National Fire Training Day

Coillte’s National Fire Training Day for 2019 has been launched today (Thursday, March 21) at Avondale House, Co. Wicklow, by the Minister of State for Food, Forestry and Horticulture, Andrew Doyle.

In launching the training day, Minister Doyle urged farmers, forest owners, forest managers and the public of the need to be alert to the risk of wildfires over the coming summer months.

He also called for anyone enjoying outdoor recreation to behave responsibly and within the law.

Wildfires place enormous strain on the emergency services and put the lives of rural dwellers and emergency service personnel at considerable risk.

Minister Doyle added: “Following dry weather patterns, a wildfire risk can quickly develop in all areas where flammable vegetation such as grasses, gorse and heather are present.”

Concluding, he called on landowners, rural dwellers and other land users to maintain a “high degree of vigilance” regarding fire over the coming months.

Coillte’s recommended seven steps to prevent fires this summer:
  • Do not light fires in or near woodland;
  • Have a fire plan. Ensure you have a current fire plan for your forest;
  • Work with neighbours. Cooperation is vital to achieve successful prevention;
  • Be vigilant. Forest owners should be particularly vigilant following dry weather;
  • Check fire breaks and access routes;
  • Insure your crop;
  • Report losses. If a plantation is destroyed or damaged by fire, the incident should be reported to the nearest Garda Station and to the Forest Service.

Also speaking at the launch, Michael Power, the national estates risk manager for Coillte, outlined: “Last year, we saw over 90 separate fire events on Coillte property alone, which severely affected more than 400ha of forestry and 500ha of bog.”

He reminded landowners that under the Wildlife Act, it is illegal to burn growing vegetation on uncultivated land between March 1 and August 31.