GARDAI have appealed for people to help reduce forest fires after illegal blazes cost €3.4m in a single year.
More than 500 hectares of private forestry were destroyed by flames in 2010 -- resulting in €1.75m replanting costs, €1.5m in loss of growth and €200,000 in fire fighting costs, according to the private forestry business Woodlands.
Superintendent Fergus Healy urged anyone considering lighting a fire or burning scrub to clear land within a mile of a wooded area to inform their local garda station.
He urged people to "be responsible and take the necessary precautions".
Homeowners in Rocky Valley Drive in Kilmacanogue, Co Wicklow, had a few anxious hours on Thursday night as three units from Co Wicklow fire brigade battled to try and bring a gorse fire under control.