Irish Wildlife Trust speaks out against devastating weekend wild fires

Published by Eric Maher on

27th March 2017

Irish Wildlife Trust released a statement today commenting on the alarming number of wild fires they have recorded since  Friday and urged people to report any illegal fires and burning of vegetation.

15 wild fires were recorded in Kerry, Waterford, Galway, Donegal, Louth and Mayo with 8 occurring in areas protected for nature conservation. Some homes were left without electricity with the ESB working to repair power lines and equipment damaged by these fires. Thankfully, no injuries were recorded as Fire and Rescue services sought to extinguish many of the blazes before they became uncontrollable.

Padraic Fogarty, IWT’s Campaigns Officer, commented on the danger and devastation these fires bring to nature and the people who rely on it for their livelihoods. “Every year we see the same wildfire wipe-out as hillsides and bogs get torched…. We need to see greater coordination between the Gardaí, the NPWS and Department of Agriculture to clamp down on this illegal activity.” He also thanked members of the fire service for bringing the fires under control and members of the pubic for reporting these illegal activities. (see below)

Social media responded with anger as many called for prosecution against those responsible. “Why can’t people be prosecuted for this… just cos it’s the countryside.. it’s reckless endangerment at least”

An Taisce shared this video of a fire by one Facebook user and asked the question, “Is this what responsible land management looks like?”

Burning of vegetation and wild fires is strictly forbidden, along with hedge cutting, from the beginning of March until the beginning of September each year. Heather Humphreys’ Heritage Bill, which has been dubbed the anti-wildlife bill, seeks to make vegetation burning and hedge cutting legal in March and August respectively. However, the bill has been met with strong opposition and has not yet been passed, meaning incidents of vegetation burning and hedge cutting from March to September is still illegal.

Click here to find out more about the No to More Slash and Burn petition.

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Achill Island by Brian Carey

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Eric Maher

Eric Maher is a contributor to the Green News. He has a Masters in Anglo-Irish Literature and Drama from UCD.