News 2012

Title: Fire-wise on the Hills
Date: 28/03/2012
Fire-wise on the Hills

28 March 2012

Mountain users are asked to be Fire-wise on the Hills this Spring.

Everybody has a part to play in protecting our unique upland landscapes, communities, habitats and forest resources alike from the threats posed by wildfire. When utilised correctly, fire is an important and legitimate tool for upland management, restoring habitat structure and removing older, coarse vegetation, and permitting fresh and more palatable young vegetation to establish again. However, when applied in the wrong circumstances, or under unsuitable weather conditions, fire can have catastrophic impacts on upland habitats and rural communities. Most worrying of all, illegal and irresponsible fire activity diverts emergency services from their main tasks of saving lives. This places rural communities at greater risk where emergency response times to traffic accidents and other types of incidents are concerned.

Hillwalkers, mountaineers and other recreational users are especially asked to support landowners and the emergency services by applying the following advice to reduce both the risks of fire, and the risks posed to recreational users themselves where fires occur.

· Do not light fires in or near woodland. You will be responsible if fire spreads from a campfire or barbeque. Use only designated barbeque points where available. Thoroughly soak BBQ embers after use and take them home with your rubbish.

· Do not block forest entrances or roads when parking - access may be required by the fire service or forestry personnel in the event of an emergency, their job will be made easier if the roads are clear.

· Be prepared - Every responsible walking party should have the skills and equipment to provide accurate location information about fire incidents to the emergency services, using tools such as mobile phones, maps and GPS.

· Report any fires you see immediately to the emergency services - Dial 999 or 112. Give clear details as regards location, where at all possible using a national grid reference and any other useful information such as the size of the fire, wind direction, proximity to dwellings or forestry etc. You will not be billed by the fire service or local authority for making the call.

· Report any illegal and suspicious activity to the Gardai.

· Do not approach fires - Wildfires can be extremely dangerous and can rapidly change direction and behaviour without notice. Avoid traversing uphill above fires – in suitable conditions and fuels fires can travel uphill faster than you can run. Smoke can be highly disorienting and damaging to health. Avoid passing through smoke.

· Do not attempt to extinguish fires yourself. Fire fighting is dangerous work and should be left to suitably equipped and trained personnel.

The Forest Service would like to sincerely thank the mountaineering community for their assistance in the past in protecting resources, and wishes all forest users a very safe and enjoyable season ahead.

Be Prepared. Be Vigilant. Stamp Out Forest Fires
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