Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Charlie McConalogue has this week issued a warning to landowners and members of the public not to carry out any illegal burning of land during spring and summer.
“In recent days, we have witnessed uncontrolled burning events in various parts of the country, which not only puts lives and property at risk, but also has a massive environmental impact and it damages the lands due to the uncontrolled nature of these fires,” he said.
“Given the inherent fire risk in spring, it is important that no one should start an illegal fire in the countryside and give rise to unnecessary diversions of vital emergency service resources”.
The Agriculture Minister said late spring wildfires could put homes and livelihoods at risk and cause considerable disruption to rural communities, wildlife, and habitats.
“The farming community has a central role to play in the control of fire in our landscapes through the management of land,” he continued.
“Reduction and maintenance of high-risk vegetation (such purple moor grass, heather, and gorse/whin) in high fire risk areas is critical to managing this risk. Some of these key preventative actions in known high risk areas are directly supported and demonstrated through the network of EIP projects funded by my Department.
“We are asking for the cooperation of all countryside users in the prevention of wildfires and to join in the protection of these lands over the coming months”.
The Department has now activated its Fire Danger Rating System for the season. The Minister has advised forest owners and managers to check and update fire plans and other relevant contingencies including insurance, access, water points, and private helicopter contracts etc., so as to be prepared well in advance of high fire risk phases.
Farmers and landowners are reminded that the exemption for the burning of agricultural green waste closed on March 1st and will reopen for a three-month period on September 1st to allow the agricultural sector deal with waste accumulated in the interim.