Offaly people urged to be on alert as 'extreme' forest fire warning is issued

Justin Kelly

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Justin Kelly

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justin.kelly@iconicnews.ie

Offaly people urged to be on alert as 'extreme' forest fire warning is issued

Offaly people urged to be on alert as 'extreme' forest fire warning is issued

Forest owners and members of the public are being told to be alert after an extreme fire warning was issued, the IFA have said.

IFA National Farm Forestry Chairman, Pat Collins said forest owners need to be on alert after the Department of Agriculture issued a Condition Red extreme forest fire warning, the highest level warning and very rare for Ireland.

“Farmers need to familiarise themselves with their fire prevention plans and be prepared for fire outbreaks on or around their property,” Pat Collins advised.  

Under extreme Fire Risk Conditions any ignition may give rise to rapid and unpredictable wildfire development and spread, particularly in dead grasses, and low moisture shrub fuels like gorse and heather.

“It is everyone’s responsibility to exercise extreme caution if they are out in areas of bog land or forestry. A small thing like a discarded cigarette or a barbecue can get out of control very quickly and take on a life of its own," Pat warned.

If you see a fire, call the Fire and Rescue Services via 112 and report the fire and its location.

The IFA says the following actions are recommended to reduce the risk of fire and to protect your investment:

- Firebreaks should be well maintained and checked at least once a year. A firebreak should constitute a fuel free zone of 6 metres in width, which are normally located along the external boundaries of the plantation. The presence of any flammable vegetation, such as purple moor grass, furze or heather, adjacent to the forest is a strong indication of risk and that a firebreak is required.

- Under the Afforestation andWoodland Creation scheme forest owner are obligated to replant where a forest is damaged by a fire. Therefore forest owners should consider the financial consequences and ensure that adequate insurance including reconstitution costs are in place.

- Prepare your fire plan and review it regularly. List key contract numbers and discuss procedures with family members.

- Raise awareness that it is illegal under the Wildlife (Amendment) Act 2000 to burn vegetation on uncultivated land between 1st March and 31st August.

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