Council issues safety advice

Council issues safety advice

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Fire crews from Shannon at a gorse fire on Woodcock Hill earlier this week – Photo: © Pat Flynn 2018

Arising from current prolonged high pressure weather patterns, very high temperatures and effective drought conditions, the Condition RED – Extreme Fire Risk alert has been extended until midday on Monday.

An extreme fire risk is deemed to exist in all areas where hazardous fuels exist. This meteorological risk is further compounded by high levels of ignitions activity and observed fire behaviour associated with current weather conditions.

The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine is advising that all outdoor use of fires, barbeques and other open ignition sources be avoided on forest lands and in other high risk areas until further notice. Extreme caution is also advised with respect to hay making and the use of machinery and other agricultural activity that may also present a risk of fire in dry vegetation on cultivated land types in current conditions.

Where fire outbreaks occur at or near recreational areas the following actions should be taken by visitors in the interests of safety.

  1. Do not light fires in and around forests or open land
  2. Do not attempt to intervene or fight fires under any circumstances.
  3. Gather all family/group members and move to a safe fuel-free location such as a car park, upwind of the fire.
  4. Telephone Fire and Rescue Services via 112 and report the fire and its location.
  5. Evacuate if instructed to do so, and cooperate with all Emergency Service Instructions.

Clare Fire and Rescue Service has issued the following advice to vehicle owners who intend undertaking journeys during the ongoing hot spell of weather:

  1. Drink plenty of water. Take a good supply of drinking water with you, preferably in a cool bag. Staying hydrated helps keep you in good physical condition during times of high temperature
  2. Do not leave children or pets in the car, even for short periods.  Distress, dehydration and heatstroke can occur very quickly
  3. Check your engine before you set off, make sure your oil and coolant levels are correct
  4. If you do get stuck in traffic, keep an eye on the temperature gauge for signs of overheating.  If necessary, find somewhere safe to pull over and let the car cool down for half an hour
  5. Dogs are at particular risk because they are often left in cars and owners can then forget they’re there.

Clare County Council gritters are continuing to treat roads affected by melting tarmac. The Council is reminding road users to be careful of surfaces becoming slick and dangerous, particularly on minor roads. Please exercise caution when braking.

File Photo: © Pat Flynn 2018

Meanwhile, Clare McGrath, water safety development officer with Clare County Council, is asking people to swim only in lifeguarded areas denoted by the lifeguard flags.  “I would urge members of the public to observe notices on any beach or where they want to swim, and to observe the lifeguard’s rules and regulations regarding off- limit swimming locations,” she said.

Earlier today, fire crews from three stations were called out to battle a blaze that spread across a number of fields after exceptionally dry hay, it’s believed, was ignited by a bailer.

The initial fire at Knockliscrane, near Miltown Malbay in Co Clare, was reported shortly before 1.00pm. It’s understood that the fire broke in a field where a square bailer was being used.

One field caught fire initially and units of the fire brigade from Ennistymon were sent to deal with the incident. On arrival at the scene, fire crews found that the fire had spread and was at further risk at spreading to other fields.

Additional units of the fire service were called in from Kilrush and Ennis to help tackle the blaze. Firefighters spend several hours dealing with the blaze across a wide area before it was brought under control.

The latest incident in Clare came as the Condition RED – Extreme Fire Risk alert has been extended until midday on Monday.

The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine had warned that the use of machinery and other agricultural activity that may also present a risk of fire in dry vegetation on cultivated land types in current conditions.

Meanwhile, while fire crews dealt with that blaze, they were alerted to another fire a short distance away where they had only tackled a major fire earlier this month.

In Kilkee, members of the local fire service assisted the National Ambulance Service at a medical emergency in the town.

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Chief Reporter Pat Flynn has worked as a journalist for almost 30 years. His career began during the late 1980s when, like many aspiring radio presenters of the time, he worked for local pirate radio stations in Clare and Limerick. Pat joined Clare FM in 1990 where he worked as researcher initially and later presented several different programmes including the station's flagship current affairs programme. He was also the station's News Editor and Deputy Controller of Programmes. Despite leaving in 2003 to pursue a career as a freelance journalist, he continues to work with the station to this day. As well as being the Clare Herald’s Chief Reporter Pat is also freelance journalist and broadcaster, contributing to Ireland’s national newspapers and is a regular contributor to national broadcasters.

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