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The gorse fire in Howth last summer.
The gorse fire in Howth last summer.
Image: Sam Boal/Photocall Ireland

Minister warns recent good weather means high risk of wildfires

Tom Hayes urged the public to be careful if out and about over the Easter weekend and to report any unattended fires or illegal burning.
Apr 16th 2014, 11:05 AM 6,084 15

MINISTER OF STATE Tom Hayes has reminded forest owners and managers, farmers and the general public that there is a high risk of wildfires during this current spell of good weather which is expected to continue into the Easter weekend.

His department has already issued a Condition Orange High Fire risk alert to the forest industry. Forest owners and managers are advised to check fire plans and lines and prepare suppression resources and to be vigilant over the coming days.

Hayes stressed that vegetation in upland areas is currently highly flammable and that high fire risk conditions already exist in many parts of the country. He asked members of the public to be careful if out and about over the next few days and ensure they properly extinguish barbeques and bring all of their rubbish home.

“Many people will be outdoors enjoying the Irish countryside, from forest walks or family days out to hiking or camping trips,” he said. “I would ask everyone to be alert to the danger of fire outdoors and in particular in or near our forest.”

Just last night there was a fire in Djouce in Wicklow which a local said “started really small and spread quickly”.

There were a number of serious fires in 2013 with firefighters battling almost a hundred this month last year. The gorse fire in Howth last summer was so big it was even visible from space.

The junior minister said these fires were a “frightening reminder of the dangers of uncontrolled fires and the risks of damage to property, the environment and the threat to peoples’ lives that they can pose”. He pointed out that they also tie up the resources of the fire and emergency services.

Illegal and irresponsible burning robs communities of vital fire and rescue service response time, and puts lives at risk by causing delays in responses to other serious incidents, such as road traffic accidents, or a house fire.

Anyone who sees an unattended fire is being urged to contact emergency services and to report any suspicious behaviour or illegal burning to gardaí.

Read: Donegal fire fighters battling night and day against the 97th gorse fire this month>

Read: Where there’s smoke…Howth fires visible from space!>

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Michelle Hennessy

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