The Department of Agriculture has issued a condition orange high fire risk warning.

The sixth such warning to be issued in 2021 came into place at 3pm on Friday 16 July.

It will remain in place pending significant rainfall until Friday 23 July, which is expected to be the peak risk phase.

The warning highlights that due to the current dry weather pattern and high temperatures, a high fire risk warning is deemed to exist in all areas where hazardous fuels such as dead grasses and shrub fuels, such as heather and gorse, exist.

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:

  • Risk assessment: assess your property with regard to fire risk and mitigation factors.
  • Prepare: fire plans should be developed for all forests, including a map showing access routes and assembly points for firefighting personnel and equipment and potential sources of water. The plan should also include contact details for the emergency services, local private and Coillte foresters, neighbouring landowners and forest owners in order to summon help should the need arise. Clear tracks and roads if available and ensure forest entrances and access routes are not blocked by parked vehicles or other obstacles.
  • Be vigilant: forest owners should be particularly vigilant during the high risk period. Fire patrols may be warranted in known fire hotspots.
  • Obey the law: it is an offence to cut, grub, burn or otherwise destroy any vegetation growing on any land not cultivated between 1 March and 31 August in any year.
  • Report fires immediately: if you see a fire, report it to the fire and emergency services straight away. Do not wait for somebody else to make the call. Dial 999 or 112. Do not attempt to tackle fires alone or without adequate training or protective equipment.
  • Report losses: if your forest is damaged or destroyed, report this loss as soon as possible to your local Garda station and to the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Johnstown Castle Estate, Co Wexford.