Wexford County Fire Service has praised farmers for their “quick and appropriate responses” to several blazes yesterday afternoon (Thursday, August 11).

The fire service attended the scenes of fires on farmland in Cushinstown, Ferns, Crosstown, The Harrow and Kilmore.

The blazes mainly related to farm machinery harvesting cereal crops in the current hot and dry conditions.

Around 12.30p.m, a bailer in Cushinstown which caught fire ignited bales and straw.

Four units of the fire service from New Ross and Wexford attended the scene.

Farmers helped the firefighters by ploughing a drill around the field to create a fire break and prevent the spread of the blaze to more farmland.

Around two hours later Wexford fire brigade was called to an acre of standing grain which was on fire in Kilmore.

Two units of the fire brigade from Enniscorthy were called to The Harrow at 3:30p.m to help local farmers who had already managed to bring a blaze under control with slurry tankers.

Video: Michael Rowley on Twitter

Around 4.30p.m, a major fire broke out in the Ferns area across five fields of grain, straw and bales; a local woodland was also impacted.

Eight units of Wexford and Wicklow fire brigades responded along with special units for command and control, including water carriers.

A spokesperson for the fire service said the main focus was on protecting houses, farmyards and other property.

Video: Carlow Weather on Twitter

Around the same time, one unit from Wexford fire brigade responded to two acres of straw which was on fire in Crosstown.

Local farmers created a fire break around field with slurry tankers, stopping the spread to further farmland. They also threw water onto ditches, avoiding further fire spread.

In all incidences, Wexford County Fire Service has commended the actions of local farmers in helping to tackle the blazes.

The fire service has also issued the following advice to farmers during the current heatwave conditions:

  • All machinery must be properly serviced and care taken to ensure no oil leaks and loose materials on the machines. Carry out a thorough pre-use inspection;
  • Machinery must be cleared of chaff and straw before use as build-up of these materials is a considerable fire hazard;
  • Machine belts and pulleys must be in good condition;
  • Machines need to be checked regularly during use for overheating and adequate fire extinguishers should be quickly available;
  • Have slurry tanks or water tankers on hand for damping down small fires should they start. Ditches can also be dampened down to protect neighbouring fields and property;
  • A plough or harrow can make a fire-break around a field to stop further fire spread;
  • Land owners must call the fire brigade as soon as a fire is noticed, no matter how small, as the speed of response is the key to protecting property and preventing fire spread.

Meanwhile, the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM) has issued a ‘Condition Orange’ forest fire warning for the coming days, with the high fire-risk set to peak on Saturday and Sunday (August 13 and 14).

A Status Yellow weather warning for high temperatures is currently in place for the entire country remain valid until 6:00a.m on Sunday.

Met Éireann said that it will be “very warm or hot” over the weekend with maximum temperatures of 27-30°, and that higher values are possible in some areas.

Sea breezes will keep conditions a bit cooler along the coast.

It will also be warm overnight with minimum temperatures generally around 15°.