Carlow county fire and rescue service has called on the members of the public to report suspected hill fires they witness to the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) or An Garda Síochána.

The call comes after the service fought a series of blazes in multiple hill locations across the Blackstairs Mountains and Mount Leinster in recent days.

The fire service responded to three separate fires on the Blackstairs Mountains over the space of an hour on Tuesday.

The fires affected the Seskinnamadra, Rathgeran and Nine Stones areas, with public roadways closed due to low visibility caused by smoke.

Monday witnessed at least three separate fires on Mount Leinster over a 24-hour period.

Fire services reported large volumes of smoke in the Rathanna and Ballymurphy areas.

Carlow county fire and rescue service first reported that its crews were attending the scene of a “large wildfire” late on Sunday.

Deliberate burning

If started deliberately, the fires could constitute an offence under wildlife laws as the destruction of vegetation on lands not cultivated is prohibited between 1 March and 31 August.

Those found to have deliberately started fires between these dates could be prosecuted and face fines or imprisonment.

Burning also makes land ineligible for payment under Basic Income Support for Sustainability and other area-based schemes.

Moderate forest fire risk

The Department issued its first forest fire danger rating of the year on 12 April.

It issued a condition yellow moderate fire risk warning for all areas where “hazardous fuels” such as dead grasses, gorse and heather are present close to forests.

A condition yellow risk is the default for the peak wildfire period of March to June.

“Under condition yellow risk conditions, upland vegetation can be expected to burn steadily, with a moderate flame length and predictable rate of spread. However, wind conditions and other factors can cause this to change,” it stated.