independent

Thursday 17 April 2014

Warning over threat of wildfires

The Government is warning farmers to be wary of the dangers of wildfires (AP)

Farmers and walkers are being warned about the threat of wildfires over the bank holiday weekend.

Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney said very high risk conditions are forecast for some parts of the country, particularly the south and south west.

Several fires have already been reported in north Kerry over recent days.

Western regions and upland areas in the east have also been cautioned to remain on high alert for the spread of any forest or gorse blazes.

"Two years ago, we saw a number of major fires over the bank holiday weekend that destroyed or damaged property, including farmland and forestry," said Mr Coveney.

"To date in 2013, we continue to see large numbers of fires reported from around the country.

"As can be seen from the media coverage, such fires are not confined to remote areas, these incidents affect rural communities and endanger people's homes and lives and place enormous strain on the resources of our emergency services."

Mr Coveney called on landowners, those living in rural areas and holidaymakers to be vigilant and help prevent any repeat of the destruction this weekend.

"I would urge all forest owners and forest managers to check their fire plans and fire lines and to maintain a high degree of vigilance regarding fire over the coming days," he added.

Under the Wildlife Acts, it is illegal to burn growing vegetation on land not cultivated between March 1 and August 31.

Press Association

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