Following the recent spell of dry weather, Limerick 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 has warned that illegal burning can spread to private and State-owned forestry plantations and jeopardise the safety of dwellings and families living in rural areas.
Landowners are being reminded that Section 40 of the Wildlife Acts 1976 to 2012 prohibits the cutting, grubbing, burning or destruction of vegetation, with certain strict exemptions, from 1 March to 31 August during the nesting and breeding season for birds and wildlife.
“The sad fact is that if this simple rule was adhered to, many costly and dangerous wildfires would be avoided,” explained Paul McMahon, Senior Assistant Chief Fire Officer.
“Some fires can be started by lightning or from something as simple as a discarded cigarette butt. However, most fires recorded in Limerick in recent years have been the result of uncontrolled or illegal burning,” said Mr McMahon.
He continued, “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, www.limerick.ie or www.nwps.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.