Coillte has warned that the recent dry spell has increased the risk of gorse fires across the country.
The Department of Agriculture, Food and Marine has issued a national high fire risk rating this week for all areas of dead grasses, heather and gorse.
Coillte has urged people to adhere to the Government Covid-19 related restrictions, saying their forest car parks are closed, but the forests remain open for people who live within 2 kilometers of them to take brief physical exercise in line with the Government guidelines.
Coillte said: "This is especially important as, due to the prolonged spell of dry weather, there is an increased risk of fire around forest parks and recreational sites."
It also asked people to avoid all outdoor use of fires and other open ignition sources such as cigarettes on forest lands, saying: "If you spot a fire or smoke please contact your local fire services immediately."
Mick Power, Coillte National Estates Risks Manager, said: “Last week’s gorse fires diverted vital emergency services away from focusing on the Covid-19 pandemic, putting unnecessary pressure on emergency services and placing lives at risk.
"There is a high risk of fires now, particularly in upland areas. This is expected to continue as we experience ongoing dry weather over the spring and summer months.”
“As such, Coillte encourages all members of the public to abide by the Government guidelines and stay at home. It is particularly important that emergency services are not put at additional risk during what is already an incredibly difficult period for all frontline services across the country.”
Mr Power also reminded landowners that under the Wildlife Act, it is illegal to burn growing vegetation on uncultivated land between March 1 and August 31. They face prosecution which could lead to fines, imprisonment and penalties to their farm payments.