With forecasts suggesting a continuation of generally dry conditions, Clare County Fire and Rescue Service is reminding landowners and the general public of the dangers posed by illegal burning and forest, bog and gorse fires.
The Fire Service says that illegal burning can spread to private and State-owned forestry plantations and jeopardise the safety of dwellings and families living in rural areas.
It also says that illegal burning places an unnecessary strain and expense on the limited resources of Clare’s fire service.
“We would like to remind landowners that it is an offence under the Wildlife Act to burn growing vegetation between 1 March and 31 August in any year, on any land not then cultivated,” stated Adrian Kelly, Chief Fire Officer.
“The sad fact is that if this simple rule was adhered to, many costly and dangerous wildfires would be avoided. Thankfully, there have not been many reported fire incidents across Clare during the warm weather of recent weeks but the risk remains high while this dry spell continues,” said Mr. Kelly.
Commenting on the issue of backyard and uncontrolled burning, Mr. Kelly said: “Some fires can be started by lightning or from something as simple as a discarded cigarette butt. However, most fires recorded in Clare in recent years have been the result of uncontrolled or illegal burning. Uncontrolled burning can result in loss of life as well as damage to property. It is often mistakenly seen as a cheap method of managing waste and it is presumed not to be harmful to the environment, but nothing could be further from the truth.”
Details of the laws in relation to burning, and additional guidance are available on the Council website, http://www.clarecoco.ie. The advice includes:
– Landowners burning gorse, scrub, or vegetation must inform the Fire Service at least one day in advance on 999 or 112 providing details of the location, time and duration of burning.
– In addition, landowners burning within 1 mile of woodland must notify the local Garda Station and woodland owner in writing at least 7 days in advance.
– Where burning is to take place within a Special Area of Conservation or Natural Heritage Area, written consent must be sought in advance from the National Parks and Wildlife Service.
– It is illegal to burn household or commercial/industrial waste, household green waste (e.g. hedging), electric cables for the recovery of copper, or to burn waste in bonfires.