05/08/2021

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Laois and Slieve Blooms on high fire alert as Orange-level forest fire warning declared

fire

Aerial footage of the fire in the Slieve Bloom Mountains in 2018

Anyone involved in outdoor activity is being urged to exercise extreme caution and to heed the high level warning for fires in place for the coming week.

A high fire risk has been declared due to the dry weather in all areas where hazardous fuels such as dead grasses and shrub fuels such as heather and gorse exist.

This risk phase is expected to peak by next Friday, July 23. With all areas at risk, the Slieve Blooms in Laois is in particular danger due to the vast amount of commercial forestry in the range.

Experts at Teagasc say high outdoor visitor activity levels can be expected in line with the fine weather along side summer holidays.

It says vehicles must not be parked at site entrances or impede emergency service access to forest roads.

Forest visitors should not use barbeques, or open fires at any stage.

Wildfires not only pose a serious risk to property and the rural environment, they also threaten lives directly in their path and may potentially divert the resources of our emergency services.

Teagasc asks famers, land owners, rural dwellers and those using the countryside to be extremely vigilant in light of the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine’s Condition Orange Fire risk alert and reminds everyone that it is illegal to burn growing vegetation on uncultivated land between 1 March and 31 August.

Teagasc also urges forest owners and forest managers to remain vigilant over the coming days and to have appropriate measures in place to help prevent loss or damage through fire. These measures include having:

  • A risk assessment completed
  • Adequate insurance against fire risk
  • A current and accurate fire plan in place
  • Access routes clear
  • Fire breaks maintained along boundariesFire suppression resources at the ready

Teagasc staff say they will continue to work with the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM), the Fire Services and local interagency groups to support farmers and forest owners in regard to awareness of fire threats as well as providing training and advice in relation to mitigation of risks.

The DAFM Forest Fire Danger Rating can be consulted at www.teagasc.ie/firerisk on the forestry section of the Teagasc website.

This index provides information on the fire risk and provides a forecast index for the coming days. Working together we can help minimise the current threat from fires.

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