Red alert: Multiple organisations issue heat warnings
Forests, dogs and drivers at risk as orange warning gives way to ‘condition red’
A woman carries an inflatable shark on Salthill beach, June 26th. Photograph: Reuters/Clodagh Kilcoyne
The Department of Agriculture has issued a “condition red” forest fire danger notice, with dry conditions expected to continue and temperatures to remain in the mid-20s, possibly reaching 30 degrees, during the week.
The red warning replaces an orange “high fire risk” notice that had been in effect since Thursday.
“Under extreme fire risk conditions, any ignition may give rise to rapid and unpredictable wildfire development and spread, particularly in dead grasses, and low moisture shrubs like gorse and heather,” the department said.
“Upland fires can be expected to cover extensive areas and pose extreme difficulties to suppression efforts and may potentially give rise to major emergency scenarios.”
These dangers were of particular concern near heavily populated areas and “on urban interfaces”, the department said.
State forestry company Coillte said all outdoor use of fires, barbecues and other open ignition sources should be avoided on forest lands and in other high risk areas until further notice.
Dublin Fire Brigade has also asked people not to light barbecues outside of designated areas and to always take care when disposing of cigarettes. The fire brigade and Coillte have been fighting a forest fire at Barnaslingan Wood for the past nine days.
“Teams are working around the clock to keep the fire contained, but rain is needed to dampen the fire and cool off the embers in the ground,” Coillte said.
Extreme caution is also advised with respect to hay-making and the use of machinery and other agricultural activity that may also present a risk of fire in dry vegetation on cultivated land types in current conditions, Coillte said.
Irish Farmers’ Association president Joe Healy said there was always a risk when using machinery, “particularly in very dry conditions when a spark from the machine could ignite a fire. Farmers are advised to be mindful of the risk and to have fire extinguishers close to hand”.
The Irish Greyhound Board (IGB) has suspended racing between 10am and 7.30pm this week and is monitoring all race meetings subject to changing weather patterns and local conditions throughout the week. IGB chief executive Gerard Dollard said while cancelling trials or racing can be a great inconvenience to owners and customers “the welfare of greyhounds comes first in all operational decisions. Staff at all tracks have been advised to supplement existing operational arrangements during this heatwave to ensure welfare considerations are fully taken into account”.
Motorists have been advised by South Dublin County Council that dehydrated drivers may become drowsy.
“Few people realise the impact that excessive heat can have on a person’s body,” the council said. “Motorists driving during the current hot spell can become tired and drowsy if they do not drink sufficient amounts of water during the day, leading to concerns for their ability to stay awake during daytime journeys.”
Heat-induced fatigue can result in “impaired performance, loss of concentration, alertness and attentiveness, poor reaction performances and the increased likelihood of a driver falling asleep”, the council said.