Call for fire plans to involve farmers

A call has been made for a contingency plan to co-ordinate fire fighting involving farmers to be put in place following Donegal’s worst gorse fires.

A call has been made for a contingency plan to co-ordinate fire fighting involving farmers to be put in place following Donegal’s worst gorse fires.

Farmers using slurry tankers played a prominent role in fighting the fires and councillors want a plan put in place where farmers could be co-ordinated to help fight future fires.

Cllr. Brendan Byrne told the May meeting of the Donegal electoral area committee that a mechanism needs to be put in place where farmers can be called on when they are needed.

“We need to explore how we can have a call up system for farmers,” he said. He also said issues needed to be looked at such as making sure fire tenders can be filled up with water from slurry tanks and training in fire fighting for people using slurry tanks.

He said the fact there are so many fire stations throughout the county was a great advantage when fire the fires. The fires also highlighted the need for the upgrade of the Gelncolumbcille fire station, he said.

Cllr. Brendan Travers called for an awareness campaign around the issue of fires. “A lot of the fires were not accidental and it happended across the north west,” he said.

Chair of the meeting, Cllr. John Boyle, said the Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Marine and Food, Shane McEntee is looking for recommendations from different groups to help ensure repeat incidents are avoided.

He said the work of volunteers in fighting the fires was incredible. The recoomendations from the meeting are to be sent to the minister for state and the county’s chief fire officer, Bobby McMenamin.

The electoral area is also planning to honour firefighters, farmers, local volunteers and members of the civil defence and arm for their part in fighting the fires with a civic reception.

All councillors praised and tanked everyone involved in fighting the fires throughout the electoral area.