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Fire on the Little Sugar Loaf two days ago
Fire on the Little Sugar Loaf two days ago
Image: Pic: Aidan O'Toole

Minister warns of risk of more land and forest fires

High to extreme risk conditions for fire will persist until the coming weekend at least, according to Met Éireann’s fire weather index.
Apr 5th 2013, 10:44 AM 7,739 23

AS GORSE AND forest fires continue to break out across parts of the country, the Minister for Agriculture has taken the unusual step of notifying people about the potential high risk fire conditions.

Minister Simon Coveney TD from the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine has sent out a message today reminding forest owners, forestry managers, farmers, turf cutters and the public that there will be an ongoing risk of land and forest fires in many parts of the country over the coming days.

Last night saw more gorse fires breaking out in Tipperary, in the Silvermines mountains, which burned from before 9pm until they were fully extinguished at about 10am this morning.

Gardaí were at the scene of the fire and the local fire service worked on fighting the blaze and ensuring no residences were in danger.

Photo: Fires in Silvermines/Killoscully area of north Tipperary last night, submitted by a reader

Coveney’s warning comes after wildfires were reported over the Easter Weekend and into this week, including at the ‘Little Sugar Loaf’, Giltspur Mountain, in Co Wicklow, which took nearly four hours to bring under control.

The Minister said that due to the dry and windy weather at the moment, ‘high’ to ‘extreme’ risk conditions for fire will persist until the coming weekend at least, according to Met Eireann’s Fire Weather Index.

The Minister said:

My department’s Forest Service took the unusual step of notifying foresters, forestry companies and other stakeholders of the potential high risk fire conditions developing in recent days and I would like to reiterate that message to forest owners, farmers, turf cutters, members of the public and anyone working in or enjoying our countryside.

He said that they do not have information yet on the source of the wildfires reported over the Easter weekend, but the incidents “demonstrate the danger of uncontrolled fires and show that the risks of damage to property and to the rural environment and the threat to peoples’ lives are very real”.

In addition, these incidents have a significant impact on the resources of our emergency services.

Up to seven appliances from Bray, Greystones and Wicklow attended the Little Sugar Loaf fire on Wednesday night. The Minister reminded land owners and the public that it is illegal to burn growing vegetation on uncultivated land between 1 March and 3 August.

He has asked all rural dwellers to be vigilant for fire, to report any suspicious activity to the gardaí and to report any uncontrolled or unattended fires to the Fire Service.

Read: Galway gorse fires brought under control following overnight evacuations>

Read: Fire services spend hours battling fire on ‘Little Sugar Loaf’>

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Aoife Barry

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