Fire warning issued: 'Landowners found burning illegally could face fines, imprisonment and farm payment penalties'

Gorse fire in the Dublin Mountains Photo: Dublin Fire Brigade
Gorse fire in the Dublin Mountains Photo: Dublin Fire Brigade
Ciaran Moran

Ciaran Moran

The Forest Service has issued a status orange fire warning with dry weather and high temperatures forecast for the coming days.

This risk is projected to increase significantly within the next 48 hours, and then to be sustained past the weekend and into the coming week.

An increased ignition risk is associated with increased human activity in high risk areas owing to fine weather, particularly areas associated with turf cutting activities and areas adjacent to urban centres.

Recently increased live growth in upland vegetation, low to moderate wind speeds and localised high humidity may moderate fire behaviour where conditions permit.

Pending significant rainfall and further meteorological review, this risk condition will remain in place until 1200hrs on Wednesday, May 30, 2018 unless otherwise stated by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine.

All forest owners and managers are again advised to prepare for likely outbreaks of fire. Fire lines, Fire Plans, fire suppression equipment should be reviewed and made ready and other relevant contingencies such as insurance, helicopter contracts etc., checked and confirmed.

Forest owners, farmers, rural dwellers and other countryside users are asked to be extremely vigilant regarding fire activity, to report any suspicious or illegal activity to the Gardai and to report all fires immediately to the Fire and Emergency Services via 112/999.

Forest owners should be particularly vigilant during the high risk period. The Forest Service said fire patrols may be warranted in known fire hotspots.

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Be particularly vigilant at Bank Holiday weekends where high risk weather is forecast. Cooperation between neighbouring landowners is critical to successful fire prevention, it said.

Illegal burning

The Forest Service warned it is an offence to cut, grub, burn or otherwise destroy any vegetation growing on any land not then cultivated between 1st March and August 31 in any year. Report all suspicious or illegal activity to Gardai immediately.

It also said landowners wishing to carry out legally permitted prescribed burning must notify in writing all forest owners within one mile of the wood, and the local Garda station, between 7 and 35 days in advance of the burning operation.

All burning operations should be notified to the Fire Service, via the control centre by telephoning 112/999 BEFORE burning commences.

Landowners found burning illegally could face fines, imprisonment and Single Farm Payment penalties, where applicable, it said.

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