Rain at the weekend seems to have slowed or halted last week’s spate of fires on farms. The heatwave saw fires across the country, but particularly in Wexford and Cork.
Possibly the worst of these occurred in Craan, Ferns, when a fire broke out in a field of barley as it was being harvested. About 26 of the 30 acres were lost, but no machinery was damaged. The fire spread into a neighbour’s stubble field, and also into a forestry plantation where it smouldered for some days.
The fire in Ferns was only one of five in Wexford last Thursday (11 July). Two of the eight fire brigades that attended the Ferns fire were diverted from a fire nearby at the Harrow, which had been brought under control by farmers with slurry tankers.
In Cushinstown, a baler went on fire. Straw went on fire in Crosstown, near Wexford town, while a small field of standing corn caught fire in Kilmore.
In Cork, one fire was spotted by passengers flying into Cork Airport. Separately, pallets and tyres in the yard of IFA Cork central chair Conor O’Leary caught fire. About 80 bales of silage lost their plastic from the heat, but no machinery was damaged.
“The quick reaction of neighbours stemmed the possibility of it spreading. We are so thankful. We were lucky there was no wind to flame it,” said O’Leary.
Fire officers are urging farmers to continue to maintain vigilance over the coming weeks, as the risk of fire, though lower since the rain came at the weekend, still prevails.