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Doyle Welcomes Forest Fire Training Days

Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine with responsibility for forestry, Andrew Doyle, T.D., today attended a National Forest Fire training event at Avondale Co. Wicklow.

Welcoming the event, the Minister of State commented that “wildfires can quickly develop following dry weather patterns in all areas where flammable vegetation such as grasses, gorse and heather are present, especially in proximity to forests and other assets. This training event was very timely and I am pleased that Coillte has organised them, in conjunction with my own Department and with the Society of Irish Foresters, as training and preparedness are crucial in view of the speed at which such fires spread.”

Referring to the weather patterns in May 2017 which all combined to make the conditions ideal for the extensive fires which raged in various locations during that period, Minister of State Doyle also added “I visited Cloosh Valley last May after the fire was eventually brought under control and I was appalled at the loss and destruction of forestry and habitats”.

He reiterated that “The legality of the situation is simply that it is an offence under Section 40 of the Wildlife Act, 1976 (amended by Section 46 of the Wildlife Act, 2000) to burn, from 1st March to 31st August in any year, any vegetation growing on any land not then cultivated. Individuals who are found to burn vegetation within that prohibited period are liable to prosecution by An Garda Síochána or by the National Parks and Wildlife Service.”

Minister of State Doyle also outlined the measures taken by his own Department to increase awareness of forest fire risk and added “my Department has reminded landowners of the legal position in relation to the burning of vegetation and of the potential consequences of illegal burning, which have been explained in the terms and conditions for the 2018 Basic Payment Scheme/Greening/Areas of Natural Constraint, as published recently. Minister Creed also recently issued a strong warning About Illegal Burning of Land.”

Applicants under the Basic Payment Scheme and other area-based schemes should note that land that is illegally burnt is ineligible for payment under these schemes and that the inclusion of such land in their 2018 applications may result in reduced payment and penalties being applied.  

The training days, being hosted by Coillte at various locations throughout the country (namely Millstreet Co. Cork, Avondale Co. Wicklow, Sligo and Woodford Co. Galway)   are part of a greater Fire Readiness improvement plan being rolled out by Coillte.


Date Released: 21 March 2018