Tuesday, 14 May 2019

Ceisteanna (488, 496)

Joan Burton

Ceist:

488. Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the number of significant wildfires that have occurred in forested areas since 1 January 2018; his plans to undertake a damage assessment of each of these wildfires; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [20633/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Joan Burton

Ceist:

496. Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the number of significant wildfires that have occurred in local authority areas since 1 January 2018; his plans to undertake a damage assessment of each of these wildfires; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [20634/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 488 and 496 together.

The Local Authority Fire and Rescue Service is the Principal Response Agency in the case of fires and information garnered from attendance at incidents, including wildland fires, would be held at local authority level.

Over the course of the summer of 2018, during a period of exceptional drought conditions, the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine issued Fire Danger Notices in response to the prevailing conditions which were conducive to wildland fires starting and spreading. Local authority fire services worked with Coillte, the National Parks and Wildlife Service and local communities to deal with wildland fires.

As part of its role in liaising between local authority fire services and the Department of Defence in relation to requesting Defence Forces assistance with fire-fighting, the National Directorate for Fire and Emergency Management in my Department took a number of actions. This included requesting daily reports of wildfires from each of the fire services three regional communications centres. Over the course of the four weeks in question, the following summary information on vegetation/wildland fires was reported to my Department.

Region

Calls Received

Incidents Attended

East Region Communications Centre (ERCC)

2,009

1,205

Munster Region Communications Centre (MRCC)

2,609

1,292

West Region Communications Centre (WRCC)

587

333

Total

5,202

2,830

The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine convened an inter-departmental group to review the experience of managing wildland fires over the summer of 2018 and the effectiveness of measures to minimise the number of such fires.

My Department has no role in relation to assessment of damage in respect of wildfires.