Over €6m was spent by State tackling gorse fires in recent years
Between 2010-2015 the cost to the exchequer of tackling over 6,743 gorse, forest and bog fires in 10 counties amounted to over €6m.
The figures were obtained by BirdWatch Ireland which has condemned the illegal fires which have raged in many parts of the country in recent weeks.
It says thousands of hectares of mountain, hill, bog and forest habitat have been destroyed already this year, incinerating the wildlife that cannot escape fast enough, including helpless chicks in their nests, or animals which find themselves caught between flames and fences.
These damaging fires happen every year and little is being done to prevent them, it says.
From 2010 to 2015, inclusive, more than 21,000 gorse/forest/bog fires were tackled by the fire service, according to data on the website of the Department of Housing, Community and Local Government.
A Freedom of Information request by BirdWatch Ireland to all local authorities in 2016 resulted in the provision of data from 10 local authorities showing that the cost of deploying the fire service to tackle 6,743 gorse/forest/bog fires in these counties during this time period amounted to more than €6m.
These costs mainly relate to the wages of fire service personnel.
Birdwatch Ireland said there is also no doubt that these fires are diverting the attention of the fire service from urban centres and other emergencies and costing the exchequer a substantial amount of money.