Uncontrolled wildfires can have devastating consequences. We can all help protecting our countryside, forest resource and property by being vigilant and being prepared.
The Forest Service (DAFM) issues useful Forest Fire Danger Ratings during the main wildfire risk season from February through to September. These weather warning systems are colour coded. Increasing levels of preparation and vigilance are required as the risk levels scale from Green through to Red. The current condition is Orange:
– Condition Green – Low Fire Risk Conditions
– Condition Yellow – Moderate Hazard Alert. Be Aware
– Condition Orange – High Fire Risk. Be Prepared
– Condition Red – Extreme Fire Risk. Take Immediate Action
Check the current Forest Fire Danger Rating here. Teagasc Forestry tweets (@teagascforestry) also provide regular updates during periods of high fire risk.
What you can do to prevent forest fires
Forest owners should have appropriate measures in place to minimise the threat to their forests from wildfires during the current high risk season. Reduce the risk of danger to your forest by following these simple, cost effective steps:
1. CHECK FOREST FIRE DANGER RATINGS REGULARLY.
2. FIRE PLAN. Ensure you have an up-to-date fire plan in place. Include a map showing access, assembly points, water sources as well as essential contact details. Have fire-fighting tools such as beaters, buckets and knapsack sprayers to hand and ready to use.
3. WORK WITH NEIGHBOURS. Co-operation is vital. Explain your concerns to your neighbours. Neighbours should develop joint fire plans sharing responsibilities.
4. BE VIGILANT. Especially following dry spells: a period of 24-48 hours is sufficient to dry out dead moorland vegetation following rain, where windy conditions exist. Be particularly vigilant at weekends and at evening times. If fire is detected, do not delay, summon help immediately and activate your fire plan. Do not rely on others to call the Fire Service.
5. CHECK FIRE BREAKS AND ACCESS ROUTES. Inspect fire breaks regularly and keep vegetation-free. Maintain access routes and gates to your forest.
6. INSURE YOUR TIMBER CROP. Make sure adequate insurance cover is in place. Consider appropriate cover for re-establishment costs, timber values and fire brigade call out charges.
7. REPORT LOSSES. If your forest is damaged by fire, report this to the nearest Garda Station and to the Forest Service (DAFM).