Kilkenny landowners are urged to be vigilant as the Department of Agriculture has issued a Condition Red - Extreme Fire Risk warning, for the whole country.
The danger period is from 12noon on Tuesday, May 5, to 12noon on May 7.
The issue of Condition Red Extreme fire risk warnings is a comparatively rare event and implies that recipients should take immediate action to protect resources and property.
Such action may involve the mobilisation, assembly and prepositioning of resources such as water tankers, machinery, personnel and contract aviation support in high risk areas.
According to the Department a ‘Type A’ high pressure system associated with extreme fire risk potential is currently located East of Scotland and is inducing moderate to fresh Easterly airflows over Ireland.
Fine Fuel Moisture Code levels are currently above 85 and wind speeds are likely to exceed the critical 30kmh threshold in most areas over the next 24 hours.
This type of pattern has previously been associated with extreme fire behaviour under Irish conditions. Projected Initial Spread Index values are also in the very high range in Western areas. This indicates a strong potential for rapid fire spread and difficulty of suppression in typical upland fuels.
Fire behaviour may be moderated by increased live growth in some areas.
Based on recent fire incidents, most ignitions risks appear to be associated with deliberate ignitions on areas where active turf cutting or illegal waste dumping is taking place.
Members of the public intending to visit forests and other recreational sites are reminded of the requirement to remain within 5km of their homes and to adhere to regulations introduced to limit the spread of Covid-19. Vehicles should not be parked at site entrances or impede emergency service access to forest roads.
Under extreme Fire Risk Conditions any ignition source in hazardous fuels will give rise to rapid and unpredictable wildfire development and spread. Under these conditions, in upland situations fire can be expected to cover extensive areas and pose extreme difficulties to suppression efforts and may potentially likely give rise to Major Emergency scenarios.
Forest owners / managers, other land managers, landowners and local authorities should implement fire patrols to exclude all fire activity from the landscape and enforce relevant fire protection legislation.