Chief Fire Officer Adrian Kelly has urged residents to remain aware of the risks of uncontrolled burning despite figures showing a sharp decrease in the number of forest, bog and gorse fires attended by the Clare Fire and Rescue Service in 2011 and 2012.

The figures were released this week [26 Feb] to coincide with the launch of Clare County Council’s annual public information campaign aimed at reminding the public of the dangers and legal implications surrounding both backyard burning and uncontrolled burning.

Clare County FRS attended 31 forest, bog and gorse fires in 2012, which represents a 90% decrease when compared to the high of 262 call-outs in 2010.

The number of call-outs to forest, bog and gorse fires recorded in 2012 is also a significant decrease on the 76 call-outs that took place in 2011.

Commenting on the figures, CFO Adrian Kelly said: "In recent years, there has been a steady reduction in the number of call-outs to forest, bog and gorse fires.

"While this has been influenced heavily by the inclement weather during the summers of 2011 and 2012, there is evidence that the Controlled Burning Policy has brought about a reduction in false alarms to these incidents.

"Landowners can act responsibly by advising the Munster Fire Communications Centre of their intentions to carry out controlled burning.  This allows the Fire Control Operators to check with the landowner directly to see if their fire has got out of control prior to mobilising the nearest Fire Brigade needlessly and causing unnecessarily expense both for the landowner and the local authority.”

Any burning of waste that causes pollution is likely to breach one or numerous Government Acts, in the areas of Waste Management, Air Pollution, Water Pollution, Forestry and Wildlife. 

"If burning of waste creates environmental damage, nuisance or gives rise to pollution, the advice is: do not burn,” added Robert Burns, Executive Engineer in the Waste Enforcement Section of Clare County Council.

"A significant amount of work has been done to reduce the incidences of illegal burning, and the message is definitely getting through.  Clare County Council has taken enforcement action against offenders for illegal burning, and this should act as a clear warning for anyone who still mistakenly thinks it is acceptable to burn waste illegally."

Clare County FRS have also provided the following guidelines on how to burn wast responsibly:
-    It is illegal to burn household or commercial/industrial waste, household green waste (e.g. hedging), electric cables for the recovery of copper, or to burn waste in bonfires.
-    There is a temporary exemption until 1st January 2014 for green waste generated by agricultural practices, such as hedge-cutting, but efforts must be first made to reduce, reuse, and recycle the waste and burning must only be considered as a final measure.  Waste must be untreated and uncontaminated by other waste.
-    Landowners must not burn vegetation between 1st March and 31st August each year as this is the bird nesting season (and this is enforced by National Parks & Wildlife Service).
-    Landowners burning gorse, scrub, or vegetation must inform the Fire Service at least one day in advance on 999 or 112 providing details of the location, time and duration of burning.
-    In addition, landowners burning within one mile of a woodland location must notify the local Garda Station and woodland owner in writing at least seven days in advance.
-    Where burning is to take place within a Special Area of Conservation or Natural Heritage Area, written consent must be sought in advance from the National Parks and Wildlife Service.

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Posted 27/02/2013 by