Forest fire warning issued as dry conditions forecast in coming days

Firefighters attempt to contain the huge blaze that has consumed hundreds of acres of gorse moor in Donegal. Photo: Pacemaker Belfast
Firefighters attempt to contain the huge blaze that has consumed hundreds of acres of gorse moor in Donegal. Photo: Pacemaker Belfast
Ciaran Moran

Ciaran Moran

The Forest Service has issued a Status Orange fire risk warning as dry conditions are forecast in the coming days.

It said that arising from current Easterly high pressure weather conditions, forecast high temperatures and low relative humidity levels, a High Fire Risk exists in all areas where hazardous fuels such as gorse, heather, dried grasses and other dead vegetation exist.

Fire risk warning is in place unitl Friday and is likely to be highest in westernmost areas with lowest expected humidity levels in coming days.

All forest owners and managers are again advised to prepare for likely outbreaks of fire.

Recent weeks have seen significant fire activity and losses in forestry. 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.

"The need for increased vigilance at this time cannot be overstated," the Forest Service said.

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.

Met Éireann has forecast that the fine weather of the weekend is set to extend and to improve for the next five days.

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Farmers have been advised to make the most of the spell of fine weather - as next weekend is set to prove unsettled, with a return to spells of rain and drizzle.

Last week saw heavy showers or longer spells of rain in south and east coastal counties brought the past 7 day's rainfall 1.5 times above average in these areas.

Over the rest of the country it was drier than average particularly over Connacht with less than 2 mm of rain in parts here over the last week.

Much of the coming week will see high pressure dominate bringing predominately dry weather, with little or no rainfall until very late in the week or next weekend.

Tomorrow and Wednesday will see the finest of the weather conditions this week, with extended spells of bright sunshine, little cloud and no rainfall.

Temperatures will reach 19C and even 20C in some places - an entire seven degrees warmer than last Friday.

Even overnight temperatures won't drop below 4C for the next few days.

Connacht and parts of Ulster will enjoy the best of the warm temperatures - with breezy conditions having a cooling effect in both the south and south-east.

"We have high pressure building from Sunday," forecaster Joanna Donnelly said.

"Thursday and Friday are also looking to be largely dry and with good sunny spells but there is just a chance of rain, particularly in the west, as well as isolated showers elsewhere."

However, temperatures will drop slightly in the latter part of the week - with Thursday and Friday likely to see a high of 16C or 17C.

By Saturday, there will be a return to more unsettled conditions, with spells of rain expected from the east.

Met Éireann stressed that while the amount of rainfall involved will be quite small, it will bring cooler overall temperatures.

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