Uncontrolled fires pose a danger to wildlife, property, infrastructure, the environment and potentially, human life. They can be a significant and prolonged draw on fire service resources and may compromise our ability to respond to other serious incidents such as road traffic collisions or structural fires.
The burning of waste is an illegal practice and is an offence under the Waste Management Act 1996, the Air Pollution Act 1987 and the Waste Management (Prohibition of Waste Disposal by Burning) Regulations 2009.
The exemption which permitted the burning of agricultural waste ceased at the end of November 2023. Farmers/Landowners are now no longer permitted to burn agricultural waste.
It is an offence under Section 40 of the Wildlife Act, 1976 (amended by Section 46 of the Wildlife Act, 2000) to burn any vegetation growing on any land not then cultivated from 1st March to 31st August in any year.
Anyone carrying out controlled burning of living vegetation must ring 999/112 immediately beforehand so as to ensure that the Fire Service is not needlessly mobilised to the fire as a result of calls from concerned members of the public. A follow up call must be made upon completion of the controlled burn.
Note: attendance by the fire service at such incidents attracts a service charge of €660 per hour, per fire brigade.
The following fire safety precautions should be considered if controlled burning is deemed necessary:
- Burning should be commenced as early as possible in the day.
- A suitable fire break should be made around the area to be burned.
- Check the weather forecast and do not burn in exceptionally dry or windy conditions.
- If possible have a sufficient mobile water supply available.
- If fires get out of control and pose a risk to buildings or woodlands, call the Fire Brigade immediately by dialling 999 or 112.
- Before leaving the area, make sure that the fire is completely out.
Further information is available from The Department of Agriculture Food and the Marine’s website at the following link: Fire Management.
What can I do to prevent uncontrolled fires?
Uncontrolled fires can happen due to a range of human activity such as discarding cigarettes, dumping rubbish, losing control of barbeques and bonfires, and in a small number of cases fires being started deliberately.
Below is a list of measures that can be taken to prevent uncontrolled fires:
- Smoking - When driving, walking or having a picnic, ensure that cigarettes and other smoking materials are fully extinguished and disposed of carefully.
- Barbeques – When lighting barbeques keep them under close supervision and don’t let them get out of hand. Ensure they are fully extinguished and disposed of carefully after use. Note - on most lands it is illegal to light any fire, including barbeques, without the permission of the landowner.
- Litter- Please take your litter home with you. Even a discarded glass bottle can start a fire.
What can I do to protect my property?
For anyone living in an area that is prone to uncontrolled fires you should remove gorse and any dead vegetation from around buildings, oil tanks, fences, forestry and poles in order to maintain a defensible zone and reduce the risk of loss or damage to property. Follow this link for further advice: Prepare for Wildfire.