*Photograph: W Kennan
A high fire risk has been announced for Co Clare by the Department of Agriculture, Food and Marine up to and including Friday May 17th.
Arising from current Easterly high pressure weather conditions, forecast high temperatures and low relative humidity levels, the Department have declared the risk in areas where hazardous fuels such as gorse, heather, dried grasses and other dead vegetation exist.
Fire risk is likely to be highest in westernmost areas of Ireland with lowest expected humidity levels in coming days. Fire behaviour may be moderated somewhat by increasing live growth content in fuels and generally low ambient windspeeds during the lifespan of the notice. South Western areas may experience significant windspeeds in excess of 20km/h at times.
All forest owners and managers are advised to prepare for likely outbreaks of fire. Recent weeks have seen significant fire activity and losses in forestry. Fire lines, Fire Plans, fire suppression equipment should be reviewed and made ready and other relevant contingencies such as insurance, helicopter contracts etc., checked and confirmed.
Forest owners, farmers, rural dwellers and other countryside users are asked to be extremely vigilant regarding fire activity, to report any suspicious or illegal activity to the Gardai and to report all fires immediately to the Fire and Emergency Services via 112/999.
Where fire outbreaks occur at or near recreational areas the following actions should be taken by visitors in the interests of safety.
1. Do not light fires in and around forests or open land.
2. Do not attempt to intervene or fight fires under any circumstances.
3. Gather all family/group members and move to a safe fuel-free location such as a car park, upwind of the fire.
4. Telephone Fire and Rescue Services via 112 and report the fire and its location.
5. Evacuate if instructed to do so, and cooperate with all Emergency Service Instructions.
Separately, 11 recruit firefighters from the county have started a two week breathing apparatus course in Tipperary. Here they are trained how to enter, search and fight fires in smoke filled buildings, the recruits must successfully complete this difficult course as part of their training.