An alliance of groups in Killarney is calling for the relaxation of the law surrounding the burning of gorse and other vegetation.
The Killarney Alliance Against Wild Fires has made a submission to Minister Heather Humphreys following a spate of gorse fires in Killarney National Park in the Spring.
It also wants a return to managment practices operated in the National Park in the past. Under the Wildlife Act, there’s a ban on the burning of gorse and other vegetation between March 1st and August 31st. However, the ban’s being flouted – in Kerry, there’s nearly a 700 per cent increase in gorse fires in the first quarter of this year compared to the same time in 2014. The Killarney Alliance Against Wildfires has told the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, that burning should be allowed until mid April and that where the weather doesn’t allow burning by this time and there’s an ‘urgent need’ to do so, then this should be permitted. The group’s advised Minister Humphreys that lands prone to going on fire should be monitored in dry weather between mid February and mid May. It also says fire breaks are essential within the National Park and on adjoining lands and that state funds are needed for their development. The alliance says it shouldn’t be necessary to apply for a permit to burn protective lines adjoining areas prone to fires and says historical research indicate the majority of wildfires are caused maliciously rather than by owners clearing their land. The alliance represents farming groups, Killarney Chamber of Tourism and Commerce, the National Park Liaison Committee, Muckross Community Association and the Trustees of Muckross House.