Forest fire warning issued for Easter weekend

Coillte asks landowners to obey restrictions on land burning

Coillte has warned of a high risk of fire as dry and sunny conditions set in for the weekend, adding that the fire risk would peak on Sunday, April 4th. Photograph: iStock

Coillte has warned of a high risk of fire as dry and sunny conditions set in for the weekend, adding that the fire risk would peak on Sunday, April 4th. Photograph: iStock

 

The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine has issued a status orange high forest fire warning for the Easter bank holiday weekend and is calling on landowners and members of the public to avoid all outdoor fires.

In a statement on Friday, the State forestry company Coillte warned of a high risk of fire as dry and sunny conditions set in for the weekend, adding that the fire risk would peak on Sunday, April 4th.

“Arising from current weather patterns a high forest fire risk is deemed to exist in all areas where dead grasses and dry heather and gorse exist,” it said. “While fair weather is forecast over coming days, an increase in fire risk can be expected ahead of forecast rain fronts over the long weekend.”

Coillte urged landowners and members of the public to “avoid all outdoor fires and other open ignition sources”, with a special call for landowners to “obey restrictions in place for land burning”.

It noted that current fire risks were mainly associated with illegal burning of waste and that there was “an established pattern of risk associated with the Easter Bank Holiday” when there is more public activity in the countryside.

All outdoor use of fires, barbeques and other open ignition sources should be avoided on forest lands and in other high risk areas until further notice, said Coillte.

It reminded members of the public to remain within 5km of their homes as per the Level 5 Covid-19 restrictions and requested that those living near forest roads do not leave vehicles parked at site entrances which could prevent access for emergency services.

It is also illegal to burn growing vegetation on uncultivated land between March 1st and August 31st, it added.

The national forest fire risk warning will remain in place until midday on Tuesday, April 6th.

Weather forecast

Met Éireann has forecast dry and sunny conditions for the Easter weekend although temperatures will remain cool during the day and become cold and frosty at night.

Saturday is forecast to be dry and bright with temperatures ranging between 10 and 13 degrees. However, temperatures will drop to between 0 and 4 degrees on Saturday night.

Sunday will be dry in most of the country with highest temperatures of between 9 and 12 degrees. However, light rain in the northwest will spread southwards through the evening. Cold air will move down from the north overnight with wintry showers on north facing coasts and temperatures dropping to -2 degrees.

Easter Monday will be cold and breezy with some sunny spells and maximum temperatures only reaching 8 degrees. Monday night will bring frost and ice again as temperatures fall below zero.