- Leitrim forest fire is the latest incident over the last few days.
- Landowners and the public should avoid all outdoor fires and other open ignition sources.
- All landowners urged to obey restrictions in place for land burning.
A forest fire in Leitrim last night was the latest incident in a week where a national fire risk remains in place according to Coillte.
The fire took place in Ballinamore, Leitrim and was brought under control by Coillte and emergency services (see photos attached).
Coillte has reminded members of the public that the Government COVID-19 restrictions are still in place and that members of the
public should stay at home or within 2 kilometres of their home. Should members of the public spot fire or smoke, they should report it to the emergency services immediately.
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, shrub, heather and gorse, exist.
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.
Coillte forest carparks are closed but the forests remain open for people who live within 2 kilometres of them to take brief physical exercise in line with the Government guidelines.
Mick Power, Coillte National Estates Risks Manager says;
“Last night’s fire is the latest incident that 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 2 kilometres 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. Landowners are also reminded that it is illegal to burn vegetation at this type of year. The damage to habitat and loss of wildlife is also particularly acute at this time of year.”
“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.”