Red alert issued for forest fires during heatwave

People are being asked to avoid using barbeques on forest lands

Red alert issued for forest fires during heatwave

File photo shows forest fires in Galway in 2017 | Image: Air Corps

The Department of Agriculture has issued a red warning for forest fires this week, due to dry conditions and high temperatures.

Temperatures are set to remain in the mid-20s for much of this week.

The fire warning is to remain in place until 12.00pm on Friday June 29th.

Forestry body Coillte say an "extreme fire risk" exists in all areas where hazardous fuels exist.

"This meteorological risk is further compounded by high levels of public activity and related ignitions risks associated with the fine weather".

The department is advising that all outdoor use of fires, barbeques and other open ignition sources be avoided on forest lands and in other high risk areas until further notice.

"Extreme caution is also advised with respect to hay making and the use of machinery and other agricultural activity that may also present a risk of fire in dry vegetation on cultivated land types in current conditions", Coillte add.

Dublin Fire Brigade have also asked people not to light barbecues outside of designated areas, and to always take care when disposing of cigarettes.

File photo shows forest fires in Galway in 2017 | Image: Air Corps

Coillte staff have been fighting a forest fire at Barnaslingan Wood for the past several days, along with Dublin Fire Brigade.

Teams are working to keep the fire contained, but rain is needed to dampen the fire and cool off the embers on the ground.

The Department of Agriculture recommends forest owners act immediately to implement fire prevention plans, and be prepared for the likelihood of fire outbreaks on or around their property.

"The highest levels of vigilance and cooperation with neighbouring landowners are required at this point.

"Landowners and managers should ensure that the use of open fires, barbeques and other potential ignition sources does not take place in forest lands and other public areas during the current heatwave period", it says.

Coillte recommends the following steps to prevent forest fires:

  • Do not light fires and be careful of all activity involving fires
  • Report any suspicious activity you may observe
  • Report any forest fires you see to local fire brigade
  • Do not approach forest fires under any circumstance, they are extremely dangerous
  • Keep access points and forest entrances clear for emergency services

Further information on fire management and wildfire protection is available here