Teagasc turn up the heat on uncontrolled burning
Uncontrolled fires caused more than €7.5m of damage to Irish forestry in 2011, one of the worst years on record.
With the legal burning period now open, landowners are being warned about the dangers of uncontrolled burning.
"Fire is a powerful but dangerous land management tool which needs to be used with skill and understanding if it is not to do more harm than good," said Teagasc countryside management expert, Catherine Keena.
"In the right hands and with the right preparation, fire can enable rapid and cost-effective management of unwanted vegetation.
"But uncontrolled burning leads to the destruction of fragile habitats and can place lives and property at risk."
Ms Keena was speaking after a series of countryside management events organised for farmers in Mayo, Waterford and Tipperary at the start of the burning season.
She told farmers that the preferred method of control for upland vegetation was grazing at a sustainable stocking rate which does not result in over- or undergrazing.