IFA Farm Forestry Chair Jason Fleming has asked farmers to be extra vigilant this week after the Forest Service issued a Condition Orange – High Fire Risk.
The warning is to remain in place in all areas until Saturday, unless there is significant rainfall.
Jason Fleming cautioned that most fires spread from adjoining land into the forest.
“It is important that farmers assess the risk to their forest and make sure that the firebreaks are maintained. A firebreak should consist of a six-metre-wide fuel free zone, typically around the boundary of the forest,” he said.
He encouraged farmers to review the fire plan for their forest, or to prepare a fire plan, especially if the forest is in a high-risk area.
“If you do not have fire plan, I would suggest that you prepare one with a map that identifies potential risks, assembly points, access and escape routes, reservoirs or water points and firebreaks. The plan should also contain contact details for the local fire station, local Garda station, and Forester.”
“Forest fires can cause devastation and significant financial loss to farmers. Under the Afforestation scheme, farmers are obliged to replant where a forest is damaged by fire, so it is important that farmers consider the financial consequences of a fire and make sure there is adequate insurance cover in place,” Mr Fleming said.
If you see a fire, do not delay. Report it to the Fire and Emergency Services by calling 999 or 112. Forest owners will not be billed by the Fire Service or Local Authority for making the call.
For more information on preparing a Forest Fire Plan, IFA has developed an information note here.