Midlands bakes in mini heatwave

Thursday, 5 July 2018

Midlands bakes in mini heatwave thumbnailExtremely dry conditions led to a busy few days for Offaly Fire & Rescue service.

AS the country continues to bask in glorious sunshine, the local area is beginning to feel the effects of this mini heatwave as local fire services battle bog/gorse/grass fires in south and west Offaly, fears grow over water supplies as demand increases and the possibility of a hose pipe ban becomes imminent.
With the mercury reaching almost 30 degrees at the Met Eireann station in Gurteen College last week and most of us enjoy this glorious weather, the Midland Tribune spoke with the Offaly Fire & Rescue Service this week after they attended a number of gorse/grass/bog fires caused by the extremely dry condition of vegetation.
They reported that Birr Fire Brigade attended along with Cloughjordan Fire Brigade bog/gorse fires in Clonlisk/Shinrone/Barna on Friday, Saturday and Sunday last with over 24 hours on the bog over this week while Birr along with the Ferbane Fire brigade attended gorse/grass fires in Cloghan on Friday last. Ferbane and Tullamore fire brigades also attended the scene of a gorse fire in Pullough on Friday last.
With conditions expected to remain bone dry for the foreseeable future, Offaly Fire & Rescue Service is asking people to vigilant and "don't let your actions result in wildfires". "All lands are extremely dry at present and even controlled burning shouldn't be undertaken," a spokesperson for the fire service re-iterated.
Offaly County Council is currently refusing all requests to the local authority to undertake controlled burning while the Department of Agriculture Food and the Marine have issued an upgraded Fire Danger Notice.
The fire service also issued the following warning to the public asking them not to light any fires. "In this weather, fires can easily get out of control. Hot ambers can travel considerable distances igniting vegetation remote from the original fire. Remember, your actions have consequences. Do not light any outdoor fires. Even the smallest fire can rapidly spread and get out of control."
Please ensure cigarettes are disposed of carefully and the fire service stressed the butts aren't to be discarded out car windows where they have the ability to ignite vegetation. The public is also asked to refrain from burning rubbish of any story and report fires as soon as they are noticed.
With hose pipes bans now likely to be extended to further counties in the coming days due to fears over dwindling water levels, Irish Water reported locally that leakage repair crews repaired a leak on the Lisduff water main on Friday last, which reduced demand slightly. However, to help increase levels in the reservoir restrictions remain in place for 150 customers in Lisduff, county Tipperary, who are supplied by the Dunkerrin public water supply. These restrictions continued every second night until further notice.
Irish Water is continuing to ask the public to take sustained action to conserve water as weather conditions remain warm and the drought is increasingly reducing capacity in rivers, lakes and boreholes while their production plants struggle to meet increasing demand.
The public are asked to change their mindset on water usage and to conserve water now and for the months ahead, as it will take many weeks and even months for raw water levels to restore in rivers, lakes, boreholes and for treated water levels to restore in the storage reservoirs.


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