The National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) has launched an investigation into a fire in the Raven Wood area of Co. Wexford. The fire was reported to the NPWS and the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage on Sunday, May 28. The full extent of the damage has not yet been confirmed, however, the department has stated that the fire was situated at the southern tip of the site and did not spread into the “precious woodlands”. The northerly wind also prevented the fire from spreading further inwards. The department spokesperson confirmed that the fire services attended the scene and that gardai are investigating.
The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM) issued a Condition Orange high-fire-risk warning last week. This warning has been renewed until Tuesday, June 6. Ground crews on fire patrol have been increased and aerial monitoring with helicopters and drones has been ramped up by the NPWS. The director general of the NPWS, Niall O Donnchú, has asked for the public’s cooperation in protecting nature. He has requested that members of the public do not light fires or barbecues in any National Parks or Nature Reserves, or indeed in nature generally. He also urged the public to be vigilant and report any fire activity without delay.
Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage, Darragh O’Brien, has advised all members of the public to avoid lighting fires in open areas and to immediately call emergency services on 112 if they notice a fire. He highlighted that this is a crucial time of year for wildlife, especially vulnerable ground-nesting birds and mammals who are now rearing their young. Minister of State for Heritage and Electoral Reform, Malcolm Noonan, commented that while everyone wants to enjoy the good weather, it is important to do so responsibly and without putting nature at risk.
Fires can have a devastating impact on wildlife and their habitats. The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine has advised that a fire can move at a speed of up to six kilometres per hour, and can jump gaps of up to 100 metres. They can also burn deep into the ground and can reignite even after appearing to be extinguished. Fires in wooded areas can be particularly dangerous as they can spread quickly and can be difficult to control.
The NPWS has warned that fires can cause long-lasting damage to habitats and can impact wildlife for years to come. They have urged the public to be mindful of the risks and to take steps to protect nature. In addition to avoiding lighting fires or barbecues in nature reserves, they have also advised the public to be cautious when discarding cigarettes or other smoking materials. These can easily start a fire, particularly in dry weather conditions.
The NPWS has also highlighted that fires can have a significant economic impact, particularly in rural areas. They can cause damage to farmland and forestry, and can also impact tourism in the area. The costs associated with fighting fires can also be significant, with the use of helicopters and other resources often required.
In conclusion, the ongoing investigation into the fire in the Raven Wood area of Co. Wexford serves as a reminder of the importance of protecting nature. With the risk of fires remaining high, it is crucial that everyone takes steps to prevent fires and to report any fire activity without delay. By working together to protect our natural habitats, we can ensure that they remain a source of beauty and wonder for generations to come.