Kerry Fire Service has tackled 93 gorse fires in county this year alone

Kerry Fire Service has tackled 93 gorse fires in Kerry this year alone.

A spokesperson for Kerry County Council today confirmed the number of gorse fires, fire services have dealt with in the county up until May 3rd.

It comes as fire services, the air corps, farmers and Coillte continue to battle one of the largest gorse fires ever seen in Cloosh Valley, Connemara, Co. Galway.

Minister for Agriculture Food & Marine Michael Creed and Minister for Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural & Gaeltacht Affairs Heather Humphreys today reminded landowners and the public that it is an offence under Section 40 of the Wildlife Act to burn from March 1st to August 31st.

Individuals who are found to burn vegetation within that prohibited period are liable to prosecution by An Garda Síochána or by the National Parks and Wildlife Service.

Minister Creed said the Department of Agriculture has issued a number of Fire Danger Notices to the forestry sector; fires are monitored through a combination of EU Copernicus and US NASA data streams.

He said the Department of Agriculture operates a Basic Payment Scheme and other area-based schemes wherein applicants are obliged to comply with Cross Compliance, including requirements in relation to the burning of vegetation.

Minister Creed said he is reminding farmers that where land has been burned, it is not generally eligible for Basic Payment – something clearly stated in Department literature on land eligibility issued to farmers.

The Minister is urging the public to report any suspicious activity to An Garda Síochána, and to report any uncontrolled or unattended fires immediately to the Fire and Emergency Services via 112/999 service.