SEVERAL FIRES HAVE been spotted in Kerry over the past few days and there are fears that land and forest fires could become more widespread over the Bank Holiday weekend.
Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney issued a warning to farmers, forest owners and the public this morning to alert them to the “very high risk fire conditions” that have been recorded this week.
He noted that while current weather conditions are highly variable, there are risk factors in some parts of the country, particularly in the south and southwest.
Recalling the Mayo fires of 2011, Coveney explained that much property, farmland and forestry was destroyed or damaged.
“To date in 2013, we continue to see large numbers of fires reported from around the country. As can be seen from the media coverage, such fires are not confined to remote areas, these incidents affect rural communities and endanger people’s homes and lives and place enormous strain on the resources of our emergency services.”
He asked land owners, rural dwellers and holiday makers to be vigilant in order to prevent repeat destruction. Suspicious activity should also be reported immediately, he urged.
It is illegal to burn growing vegetation on land not cultivated between 1 March and 31 August. Farmers engaged in such activities could face prosecution and penalties on their Direct Payments.