Irish Wildlife Trust says farming plays a role in wildfires

The Irish Wildlife Trust says farming practices play a role when it comes to wildfires.

The trust claims farmers need their land in grazeable condition to receive certain subsidies.

It comes as half of Killarney National Park in Kerry burned to the ground last weekend.

Padraig Fogarty from the Irish Wildlife Trust says farming isn’t entirely responsible, but does play a role when it comes to these incidents.

“I don’t want to speculate on the particular cause of the fire in Killarney National Park, but in the broader picture yes absolutely we know that farming practices play a role in this.

“We have to remember the tradition of burning land goes back a long way.

“We’ve been dealing with wildfires like this in the Irish Wildlife Trust for at least a decade, we know that Killarney National Park has burnt down practically annually.

“But they happen all over the place.”

The Irish Farmers Association says a full investigation should be carried out in Kerry and those responsible for the fire should face the full rigours of the law.

Its president Tim Cullinan says nobody knows how the fire started.

“To farmers and to everybody going out into parkland in the hills in the coming weekend, be very very careful.

“We’ve had a lot more people coming out to the countryside since Covid and the lockdown, people love to get into the wild open spaces and into the fresh air.

“I can’t accept that farmers are responsible for all of this.

“There is a system for controlled burning on hill lands and farmers have been doing this for years.”

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