Over the last few days a number of fields of hay have gone up in smoke and fire brigades are getting numerous callouts close to a midland town. Whilst this may be the best quality hay made in years, there is a very real danger of big losses of this crop as the dry spell continues. These pics are from two separate fires close to Mullingar.
Firemen working at saving some of this field of hay near Mullingar, Co. Westmeath
The Department of Agriculture has put a Fire Management Notice Warning in place until Monday. "Arising from current prolonged high pressure weather patterns, very high temperatures and effective drought conditions, 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."
DAFM advise at this point 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.
Pending a significant change in meteorological conditions this risk condition will remain in place until 1200hrs on Monday, July 2nd, 2018, and will be reviewed again at that point