The Department of Agriculture released a status ‘condition orange – high fire risk’ warning on Tuesday.
The statement highlights: “Arising from current dry weather patterns and high temperatures a high fire risk is deemed to exist in all areas where hazardous fuels such as dead grasses and shrub fuels such as heather and gorse exist.”
The warning came into play at 12 noon on Tuesday 29 June and is expected to peak on Friday 2 July.
The effective period is expected to last pending significant rainfall until 12pm on Monday 5 July. Adding to concerns is expected higher visitor activity at recreational sites in line with fine weather and summer holiday usage patterns.
Vehicles must not be parked at site entrances or impede emergency service access to forest roads
Of particular concern is how a higher number of visitors could potentially impede access to emergency services if required.
“Members of the public intending to visit forests and other recreational sites are reminded to adhere to regulations introduced to limit the spread of COVID-19. Vehicles must not be parked at site entrances or impede emergency service access to forest roads,” the statement continued.
Forest owners and managers are asked to prepare for likely outbreaks of fires.
“Fire lines, fire plans, fire suppression equipment should be reviewed and made ready and other relevant contingencies such as insurance, helicopter contracts etc, checked and confirmed. The need for increased vigilance at this time cannot be overstated.”
The Department recommends that forest owners and managers should consider the fire mitigation measures that they can put in place to help prevent loss or damage to forest resources through fire.
Measures outlined in the statement as best practice examples include;