Illegal wildfires put communities and private properties at risk while placing an unnecessary additional burden on emergency services, so says Minister of State Malcolm Noonan.
Wicklow Mountains National Park, the Slieve Blooms in Co Laois and Kilkenny’s Mount Brandon have all seen such activity recently despite it being outside of the dates set by the Wildlife Act of March 1st to August 31.
Minister Noonan, who’s also the Carlow Kilkenny Green TD, has been visiting some of the areas affected today, telling KCLR News “I have this morning visited Wicklow Mountains National Park with our team from the National Parks and Wildlife Service and with the fire services in Wicklow and Civil Defence and it is an incredible draw on their resources and time to have to deal with, control and manage these fires in our upland areas”.
He adds “I’m aware of fires similar to this in the Slieveblooms in Laois and in County Kilkenny on Mount Brandon and I would appeal to landowners and I would appeal to those who are setting these fires that outside of the time under the Wildlife Act of March 1st these fires are illegal and are causing damage to habitats particularly at a time when ground-nesting birds need these habitats, in the Slieveblooms we have hen harriers affected by it, other birds really impacted by this”.
Minister Noonan also says “But it’s also an impact on human health where smoke inhalation and ash coming from these fires is a real problem to people with respiratory illnesses, particularly during Covid times so we want to work closely with landowners, with the Department of Agriculture, and all partners to ensure we have a much better approach to the management of our upland areas and to ensure that it’s fit for purpose for everybody, we’re appealing to communities be mindful of this over the next number of weeks and to ensure that these fires are stopped”.