Status Red fire warning issued due to extreme forest fire risk over Bank Holiday weekend
High temperatures and dry weather are forecast for right throughout this weekend.
The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine has issued a status red fire warning for Ireland, where there is an extreme forest fire risk ahead of anticipated warm weather throughout the Bank Holiday weekend.
Temperatures are expected to hit highs of 25 degrees throughout the weekend with little to no rain anticipated.
Those dry conditions, combined with light to moderate easterly and south easterly winds, have created a ‘Type A’ fire weather pattern that has previously been associated with extreme fire behaviour under Irish conditions.
The risk is likely to be exacerbated by ignitions risks associated with expected high levels of public activity in fire prone areas during the Bank Holiday Weekend.
The warning comes into effect at 12pm on Friday (29 May), with an extreme forest fire risk deemed to exist in all areas where there are hazardous fuels such as dead grasses, heather and gorse.
Under extreme fire risk conditions, the Department says, any ignition source in upland vegetation will give rise to rapid and unpredictable wildfire development and spread.
Fires can be expected to cover extensive areas and pose extreme difficulties to suppression efforts and may potentially give rise to major emergency scenarios.
A comparatively rare event, a status red warning implies that the public should take immediate action to protect resources and property.
Such action may involve the mobilisation, assembly and prepositioning of resources such as water tankers, machinery, personnel and contract aviation support to high risk areas.
As a result of the status red warning, the Department has issued the following advice to the public:
- That all forms of permitted controlled burning immediately cease, and that the outdoor use of fires, barbeques and other open ignition sources be avoided on forest lands and in other high risk areas until further notice.
- Extreme caution is also advised with respect to hay making, the use of machinery and other agricultural activity that may also present a risk of fire in dry vegetation on in current conditions.
- Members of the public intending to visit forests and other recreational sites for exercise are reminded of the requirement to remain within 5km of their homes and to adhere to regulations introduced to limit the spread of Covid-19.
- Report Fires Immediately. If you see a fire, do not delay; report it to the Fire and Emergency Services straight away. Do not wait for somebody else to make the call. Dial 999 or 112. It is an offence to cut, grub, burn or otherwise destroy any vegetation growing on any land not then cultivated between 1 March and 31 August in any year.
- Report all suspicious or illegal activity to Gardai immediately
The status red warning will remain in place until 12pm on Monday, (1 June) and will revert to a status orange warning at that point until further notice from the Department.