Department of Agriculture issues status red warning for forest fires

Anne O'Grady

Reporter:

Anne O'Grady

 Department of Agriculture issues status red warning for forest fires

This status is the highest level and is rare in Ireland

The Department of Agriculture has issued a status red warning for forest fires. It said in a statement this status was the highest level and was rare in Ireland, and it replaced a status orange warning which had been in effect since last Thursday.

The warning was to indicate the dangerous possibility that fire could spread rapidly in these conditions once ignited.

“[It] may give rise to rapid and unpredictable wildfire development and spread, particularly in dead grasses, and low-moisture shrub like gorse and heather.”

People who own forest lands have been advised to implement fire prevention plans, and to be prepared for the likelihood of fire outbreaks on or around their property.

Farmers were also advised to exercise caution in relation to the use of machinery around hay meadows.

Meanwhile, Irish Rail are now distributing 50,000 bottles of water to train customers and have announced that "hot weather protocols" are in place for fleet and infrastructure maintenance.

The company are advising;

To avoid unnecessary travel if unwell
To ask for assistance or, if on a busy peak service, to ask for a seat if you become unwell while travelling
Wear comfortable clothing
Remember your hat and sunscreen if you are enjoying the sun on the platform, or sitting in direct sunlight on the train
Iarnród Éireann has also put into operation a series of hot weather protocols to ensure services run without disruption.

Fleet maintenance will focus on cooling systems on board, and on ensuring air-conditioning is operating well on equipped fleets, with fleets being monitored remotely and in maintenance centres.

Some track maintenance works are being deferred, as unsettling the track bed can increase the risk of rail buckling in the heat. However, engineers say that rail heat levels have not approached levels to cause concern or to require speed restrictions, but will continue to monitor this through automated temperature gauges, preventive works on jointed track, and ongoing line inspections.

Yesterday Met Éireann said a status yellow warning remained in place for heat, advising people to take all the necessary precautions, such as using sun cream and staying hydrated.

“We won’t be upgrading to a status red or a status orange.

“Obviously people should use common sense when out in the sun.”

The status yellow warning would remain in place until Friday, a spokeswoman said.

Irish Water has also urged people to conserve supplies.