Gorse Fires – What are they and what to know.

Gorse is a shrub very commonly found around Ireland. This spiny and prickly evergreen thrives in dry, acidic soil. Gorse is highly flammable and when it catches alight can spread very quickly. The heat from fires causes the flower pods to pop, releasing seeds. This means Gorse is very resilient against fire and burnt stubs can sprout new shoots from the roots.

Most gorse fires are started by humans (whether directly or indirectly), spreading quickly and causing devastation. Although very few gorse fires can start through spontaneous combustion. Hot, dry weather can add to the flammability of gorse and provides ideal conditions for gorse growth and fires.

Recent high temperatures across the country has provided ideal growing conditions for gorse, and therefore ideal fire spreading conditions.

If you are out celebrating the good weather, make sure all barbecues, cigarettes and such are extinguished correctly and completely. Do not leave glass behind you. The spark from any of these is all that is needed to start a gorse fire.

If a fire starts in an area you are. Look for a break in the trees and exit there, do not try to out run the fire. Get to a safe distance and call the Fire Services. Leave your belongings behind, do not go back for anything. Gorse fires spread rapidly.

*image used from thejournal.ie

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