The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine has issued a ‘Condition Orange’ status for forest fire, indicating a high fire risk.

The warning came into effect at midday yesterday (Thursday, July 14), and will remain in effect until the same time next Wednesday (July 20).

The notice says that a Condition Orange high fire risk is deemed to exist in all areas where hazardous fuels – such as dead grasses – and shrub fuels such as heather and gorse exist.

A high-pressure ridge currently located to the southwest of Ireland will move northwards during the lifespan of this notice and influence southerly airflows, with high air temperatures, low to moderate humidity and moderate windspeeds as the weekend progresses.

Members of the public intending to visit forests and other recreational sites are reminded to adhere to regulations regarding fire use. Forest visitors should not use barbeques or open fires at any stage.

Vehicles must not be parked at site entrances or impede emergency services to forest roads.

The fire risk is expected to be at its peak on Sunday, July 17. Where fires occur, fire behaviour is likely to be influenced by moderate windspeeds in the 15kph to 25kph region.

Higher windspeeds above the critical 30kph threshold may be experienced in southern areas.

Fire behaviour will be moderated by increased live fuel availability and high live fuel moisture levels in upland areas.

All forest owners and managers are advised to prepare for likely outbreaks of fire. Fire lines, fire plans and fire suppression equipment should be reviewed and made ready and other relevant contingencies such as insurance and helicopter contracts should be 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 Gardaí and to report all fires immediately to the fire and emergency services via 112 or 999.

The department is recommending that forest owners and managers should consider the fire mitigation measures that they can put in place to help prevent loss or damage to forest resources through fire.

Members of the public and visitors to recreational areas should cooperate with all requests regarding fire safety, obey all relevant bye-laws and be considerate in parking vehicles so as not to impede access by emergency vehicles.