Donegal farmers set to offer assistance to fire services

Seeking to help with gorse fires

By Eamonn McFadden

Reporter:

By Eamonn McFadden

Email:

editoial@donegaldemocrat.com

Donegal farmers  set to offer assistance to fire services

Fire Services battling a blaze in Urris.

Enlisting the help of farm contractors to spray water from high powered “rain guns” to assist local fire services battle gorse fires could be an effective option in helping to deal with the problem, a meeting of Donegal IFA has heard.
The meeting in Letterkenny on Tuesday heard that on Sunday evening a quick thinking farm contractor used his slurry spreader filled with water and a “rain gun” to help quell a fire that threatened a home in the Illies area of Inishowen.
Donegal IFA representative for the Environment and Rural Affairs committee, Francis Burns, said that the actions of the contractor, along with the fire services, “helped save the day on Sunday evening”.
He said they are very thankful to the local fire services for their ongoing work and are now hoping to meet with them to suggest that the farm community could play a support role that could help deal with gorse fires in future.
“You could not ask a farmer with a tanker to go on to someone else's land to fight a fire because there is a range of issues and top of them is insurance. You could take it that a contractor would have public liability to go on to someone else’s land. At the minute the fire services can’t ask them to come and help fight a fire with their tanker, in case anything happens. I suppose they are still liable and are not covered for that. But this is something we are happy to propose to the county’s fire services to see what their take on it would be and to see if we could help facilitate that. You could end up with a fire services having a list of contractors that could submit their insurance details to the services annually and then the fire services could either pay them to be on standby or pay them when they come out to help fight a fire in these area”.
He added that a “rain gun” has proved to be very effective due to the height and range it can spray water.
Farm Forestry committee representative Charlie Doherty said that with so many fires during the dry spell fire services were “stretched to their limit”.