News 2015

Title: Be Fire-wise on the Hills
Date: 18/04/2015
System Date: 18/04/2015

Mountain users are asked to be Fire-wise on the Hills this Spring.

Everybody has a part to play in protecting our unique rural landscapes, communities, habitats and forest resources alike from the threats posed by wildfire.  Hill walkers, mountaineers and other recreational users are especially asked to support landowners, rural communities and the emergency services by being vigilant to the threat of fire, and the risks posed to recreational users themselves where fires occur.

Fire poses a major threat to upland habitats, forestry and other resources at this time of year when there is an inherent risk of fire, as a lot of vegetation is dead following winter. This vegetation can dry to a flammable state very quickly where fuels and weather conditions permit, and large wildfires can generate very quickly following ignition.

Wildfires can quickly cover large areas, and can adversely impact on nesting birds and wildlife, and even cause fire to spread into forests or other lands, sometimes even rural dwellings. Fires of this type are hugely wasteful and divert the fire service away from their main task of saving lives. Fire service resources deployed to wildfires will not be as readily available to respond to more critical emergencies such as road accidents or structural fires.

There are many things people can do to help the emergency services, and help reduce the overall impacts of fire in the places we love:

·         Do not light fires in or near woodland. You will be responsible if fire spreads from a campfire or barbeque. Use only designated barbeque points where available. Thoroughly soak BBQ embers after use and take them home with your rubbish.

·        Do not block forest entrances or roads when parking - access may be required by the fire service or forestry personnel in the event of an emergency, their job will be made easier if the roads are clear.

·        Report any fires you see immediately to the emergency services - Dial 999 or 112. Give clear details as regards location, where at all possible using a national grid reference and any other useful information such as the size of the fire, wind direction, proximity to dwellings or forestry etc. You will not be billed by the fire service or local authority for making the call.

·    Report any illegal or suspicious activity to the Gardai. Dangerous, illegal, or irresponsible burning activity should not be tolerated in our communities. Record, report and where possible, make a statement to Gardai.

·        Do not approach fires - Wildfires can be extremely dangerous and can rapidly change direction and behaviour without notice. Avoid traversing uphill above fires – in suitable conditions and fuels fires can travel uphill faster than you can run. Smoke can be highly disorienting and damaging to health. Avoid passing through smoke.

·         Do not attempt to extinguish fires yourself. Fire fighting is very dangerous work and should be left to suitably equipped and trained personnel. Call the fire service and retire to a safe distance.

The Forest Service would like to sincerely thank the mountaineering community for their assistance in the past in protecting resources, and wishes all forest users a very safe and enjoyable season ahead.


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