In 2011, 1,465 ha of forestry were destroyed by fire resulting in millions of euros of damage. Fires are most likely to occur during the high risk period between March and June. This is the high risk period because of a combination of factors, notably dry ground vegetation following winter coupled with favourable weather conditions. It is also a time of year when traditionally fires are set to burn off dead vegetation for grazing. Young plantations are at most risk but older plantations beside open mountains or bogs are also.
Protecting your plantation against fire
As a forest owner, you should ensure that your plantation is protected against fire and you can do this by developing a fire-plan and insuring your crop against fire. A fire-plan consists of:
- A map of the plantation detailing where the high risk zones are
- Measures undertaken to protect the forest in case of a fire,
- Access points and local water sources
- Contact details for emergency services, your Veon (formerly FEL) forester and neighbours
- A checklist to check fire protection measures like firelines regularly
To those fighting a fire a well thought out fire plan is invaluable when tackling a fire and can lessen the damage caused by a fire.
It is surprising to think that many plantations in Ireland are not adequately insured. Considering the huge financial loss that will occur when a fire occurs, insurance is a small price to pay. In the past forest owners could rely on the Forest Service Reconstitution Scheme to cover the costs of replanting their land. This grant is no longer available so it is up to the forest owner to cover all the costs of replanting. If your forest is damaged by fire, you are responsible to replant the land otherwise your premiums will be at risk. Replanting a forest damaged by fire is very expensive and can cost you up to €4,500/ha to replant.
Fortunately, forestry insurance will cover the loss of timber production and the cost of replanting your land.
Veon specialises in forest fire protection and our services include:
- A detailed fire risk assessment of your plantation
- A fire-plan for your plantation
- Installation of fire protection measures like firelines
- forest insurance advice