2 April 2020 latest news

National Forest Fire Risk Warning In Place ~ Public urged to remain at home as per Covid-19 guidelines

Picture of a fire burning in a forest

National Fire Risk Warning in place this weekend

Public urged to remain at home as per Covid-19 guidelines

  • Gorse fires last week diverted vital emergency services from focusing on the Covid-19 pandemic
  • Coillte forest car parks remain closed.
  • Forests are open for those who live within 2km to take brief physical exercise in line with Government guidelines.
  • Public should avoid all outdoor fires and other open ignition sources.
  • All land owners urged to obey restrictions in place for land burning.

Coillte has reminded members of the public that the Government Covid 19 related restrictions are still in place and that members of the public should stay at home or within 2km of their home.

This is especially important as, due to the prolonged spell of dry weather, there is an increased risk of fire around forest parks and recreational sites. The Department of Agriculture, Food and Marine has issued a national high fire risk rating this week for all areas where hazardous fuels such as dead grasses, and shrub fuels such as heather and gorse exist.

Based on recent fire incidents, most ignitions risks appear to be associated with illegal burning of upland vegetation. Additional caution is also required in areas where active turf cutting is taking place. There may be increased ignitions risks on sites with public access arising from the forthcoming Easter Bank Holiday Weekend, depending on levels of usage under current movement restrictions. Members of the public intending to visit forests and other recreational sites are reminded of the requirement to remain within 2km of their homes, and to adhere to Regulations introduced to limit the spread of Covid-19. Vehicles should not be parked at site entrances or impede emergency service access to forest roads.

Coillte forest carparks are closed but the forests remain open for people who live within 2km of them to take brief physical exercise in line with the Government guidelines.

Landowners are also reminded that under the Wildlife Act, it is illegal to burn growing vegetation on uncultivated land between 1st March and 31st August. Persons engaged in such illegal activity are liable to prosecution and could face fines, imprisonment and penalties to their farm payments.

Mick Power, Coillte National Estates Risks Manager says;
Last week’s gorse fires diverted vital emergency services away from focusing on the Covid-19 pandemic, putting unnecessary pressure on the Emergency Services and placing lives at risk.

“There is a high risk of fires now, particularly in upland areas. This is expected to continue as we experience ongoing dry weather over the spring and summer months.

“As such, Coillte encourages all members of the public to abide by the Government guidelines and stay at home. Our forest car parks are closed but our forests are open for those who live within 2km of them to take brief physical exercise. Those that do so should exercise extreme caution due to the fire warning in place. The public must avoid all outdoor use of fires and other open ignition sources such as cigarettes on forest lands. If you spot a fire or smoke please contact your local fire services immediately.
“Forest fires pose a serious health and safety risk to the public and to people working in the forest sector. They are very difficult to control and put firefighters and forest personnel at great risk in their efforts to extinguish them. It is particularly important that emergency services are not put at additional risk during what is already an incredibly difficult period for all frontline services across the country.”

For more information, please visit www.coillte.ie or for regular updates follow Coillte on Twitter @coilltenews


About Coillte
Coillte, Ireland’s largest commercial forestry company manages approximately 7% of the country’s land on a fully sustainable basis. Coillte is the largest supplier of roundwood in Ireland which underpins a vibrant Forestry Sector.

The Irish forestry sector supports 12,000 rural based jobs in Ireland, contributes approximately €2.3 billion to the economy every year and has the potential to double in size over the next ten years.

Visit www.coillte.ie to learn more

For further information or to arrange an interview with a Coillte representative please contact:

Jillian Garvey 083 8919 583/ jgarvey@carrcommunications.ie


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