Forest fires cost the State €4m in 2018

Last year was one of the worst on record for forest fires with 90 reported on Coillte property alone.

Forest fires cost the State €4m in 2018

Last year was one of the worst on record for forest fires with 90 reported on Coillte property alone.

The most serious took place in the Slieve Blooms.

Forest fires in 2018 cost the state forestry agency €4 million.

Today Coillte is holding a training day in conjunction with the National Fire Service to highlight the dangers of forest fires.

The training day also aims to highlight how people can avoid causing them.

Mick Power, Coillte's Risk Manager, says people using forests need to be especially careful of campfires.

"The people need to be more cognisant of what they are doing because you do have to remember that it's not just a commercial loss when these things happen, there is a huge environmental loss as well," said Mr Power.

You're doing this in the middle of nesting season and there are some very rare and protected species out there and there's no point in burning them out of existence.

Coillte wants to educate farmers and landowners without having to penalise them in the future.

Mr Power says that rather than relying on a threat of fines, it would be better to educate everyone a little better.

People need to be aware of what they should and should not do and the consequences of doing wrong both for themselves and other landowners.

"You could actually be burning someone's pension," said Mr Power.

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