The Department of Agriculture has issued its seventh high-risk fire warning of the season.

The warning comes into play from 3pm on Friday 23 July and is essentially extending the warning which has been in place over the last week.

The warning is in place for the entire country.

“Arising from continued high temperatures and dry weather, 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.

"This situation can be expected to persist into next week, pending rainfall,” a statement read.

Tillage fields with winter crops suitable for harvesting can also be added into the high-risk category, with contractors and farmers exercising caution following a number of fires and close calls over the last week.


Recreational sites remain particularly high risk and members of the public visiting forests and other recreational sites are warned not to use barbecues or open fires at any stage.

“Vehicles must not be parked at site entrances or impede emergency service access to forest roads.

"Fire behaviour and spread rates are likely to be moderated by high live moisture levels in vegetation. However, higher wind speeds may influence more active fire behaviour.

"There is potential for rainfall in some midland areas which may also moderate risk.”

Subsurface peat fires

The warning also points to a higher risk of subsurface peat fires following peat drying, with this risk greatest in eastern and midland areas.

“Due attention should be paid to full extinguishment of subsurface 'hot spots' where fires on peatlands are concerned."

Forest owners and managers are asked to continue 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.