The Department of Agriculture has issued a Condition Red warning for an extreme forest fire risk in Ireland this week.
The forest fire warning sue to a ‘Type A’ pressure system high pressure system over eastern Scotland which is inducing easterly airflows over Ireland.
Fine Fuel Moisture Code levels are currently above 85 and wind speeds are likely to exceed
the critical 30kmh threshold in most areas over the next 48 hours.
This type of high pressure system causes the air to shed moisture and become extremely dry, in turn rapidly drying out vegetation.
“This type of pattern has previously been associated with extreme fire behaviour under Irish conditions,” the department has warned.
The highest risk period where the Red notice will be in force is until Thursday, May 7.
The west of Ireland is at particular risk due to a very high projected range of Initial Spread Index values here.
This indicates a strong potential for rapid fire spread and difficulty suppressing it in typical upland fuels.
In upland areas fire can then spread across extensive areas, and may give rise to a Major Emergency scenario.
The issue of Condition Red Extreme fire risk warnings is a comparatively rare event and
implies that recipients should take immediate action to protect resources and property.
Galway County Council has already instructed landowners to cease all controlled burning until further notice due to a recent spell of dry conditions.
But the highest risk comes from people deliberately igniting fires in areas where illegal turf cutting or waste dumping is taking place the department said.
People who intend to visit forests and other recreational sites are being reminded to not stray further than 5km from their homes in line with Covid-19 restrictions.
Vehicles should not be parked at site entrances or impede emergency service access to forest roads.