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Campfires & Barbeques

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  • 05-04-2016 7:58pm
    #1
    Registered Users Posts: 2,598 ✭✭✭


    So a discussion kicked off in work today regarding lighting campfires and barbeques, and the more we talked the more it became obvious we hadn't a clue about the laws in ireland regarding lighting of campfires.

    I thought a google search or boards search would answer my question but I can't seem to find anything concrete on the subject, although I found this from 2010
    POLICY
    RECREATIONAL 13 FIRES
    • Coillte permits the lighting of fires by the public
    in forest areas only in the following cases:
    – the use of barbeque units at designated sites
    – lighting of campfires in designated areas.
    • Coillte expects that the ‘Leave No Trace’ code will
    be strictly followed in all areas of the forest.
    • Coillte expects that fires should be under control at
    all times and that every precaution against damage
    by fire to the forest and surrounding countryside be
    an absolute priority for all users of the forest.

    66 Recreation Policy – recreational fires
    review date JUNE 2010

    67 Issue
    The subject being addressed here concerns the lighting
    of campfires, barbeque fires or similar in Coillte forests
    or forest parks. The burning of vegetation for the
    purposes of ground cultivation or management for
    agricultural or forestry uses is excluded for the purposes
    of this statement.

    Background
    The lighting of fires and burning of vegetation in and/or
    adjoining a forest area or plantation are governed by the
    Forestry Act (1946), Wildlife Act (1976) and Wildlife
    (Amendment) Act (2000).
    The Forestry Act (1946) (Section 61 (1)) states that ‘It
    shall not be lawful to burn any vegetation growing within
    one mile of a wood which is not the property of such
    person’.
    The Wildlife Act (1976) (Section 39 (3)) states that
    ‘a person shall not’…’light a fire or do any other act,
    which causes or is likely to cause, the burning of
    vegetation which is growing within one mile of a
    wood which is not in the property of such person’.
    Furthermore this Act (Section 39 (5)) states that ‘where
    a person lights a fire’…’ any injury occasioned by such
    burning, lighting’… ‘shall be deemed to have been
    caused by the negligent act of that person, and
    damages to the extent of that injury shall be
    recoverable’…
    As can be seen from the above extracts, the lighting
    of a campfire or the use of a barbeque unit is not illegal
    under current legislation. However, it is a concern to
    management that the use of campfires in non-designated
    areas has become a major problem and the risk to the
    forest and the environment is real.

    The increasing use of forest facilities by families and
    groups of all kinds for picnicking, barbeques etc. is
    recognised. At a local level, facilities for this are being
    provided to a varying degree. There is evidence of
    damage to forest facilities through the careless use of
    barbeque fires with destruction of forest furniture and
    signage. Much of this damage could be limited by the
    improved use of designated BBQ sites and improved
    design of picnic tables etc. There is also evidence of
    fires at ‘wild’ campsites particularly in areas of high
    recreation use.

    In other European countries and in North America the
    lighting of fires is an allowed and indeed encouraged
    recreation activity in the forest. In many Scandinavian
    countries there are designated fire sites with wood
    supplied. Metsahallitus for example provide 1759 ‘fire
    points’ supplied with firewood in their forest areas. The
    activity is managed and not underground. Education
    primarily has proved to be the key to improved fire safety
    – for example Metsahallitus in Finland promotes the
    Leave No Trace ethics on their website as is the case
    with USDA Forest Service.
    Recreation Policy – recreational fires

    So as this mentioned, fires are legal in certain areas, but no statement as to how to know where these areas exist.

    So, providing you follow the 'leave no trace' policy and light the fire in a controlled manner so as not to cause any of the situations mentioned above you are ok to light them?

    I know from taking trips to places like Davagh forest they have a designated barbeque spot and fire pits, but in or around Sligo where I'm from I have never seen anything like this.

    That brought another question, what about a beaches?
    If you built a proper fire pit and made sure to take all rubbish with you would it be permissable?

    I do a lot of mountain biking, and would like to take my son camping during the summer, one of the fun things about camping is sitting around an open fire, but I would like to make sure that this would not cause issues, especially when I would take the time and effort to make it right, controllable, and in a manner to leave as little trace as is possible.


Comments

  • Registered Users Posts: 9,554 ✭✭✭Pat Mustard


    rizzodun wrote: »
    So, providing you follow the 'leave no trace' policy and light the fire in a controlled manner so as not to cause any of the situations mentioned above you are ok to light them?
    Not as such. Only certain National Parks allow camping. Others do not allow camping. Some give written permits for fires and some do not allow fires. You would need to check the rules of the relevant park.

    Coillte states the following about camping on its lands:
    Camping is currently permitted in Coillte forests only with permission. Permission for over-night camping is frequently granted by Forest Managers to organised groups such as Scouts or members of the Defence Forces on training exercises.

    In practise camping often occurs without permission, especially close to large urban areas or adjacent to long distance walking routes. Some of this camping is conducted responsibly, but unfortunately, much unauthorised camping activity results in damage to trees, littering and other environmental damage (water quality can be an issue in some of our upland and ‘wild land’ due to the incorrect disposal of user waste.)

    On Coillte lands, camping is only allowed if the Coillte Camping code is adhered to (see the fourth page of that .pdf doc). Permission to camp is deemed to be withdrawn if the camping code is not adhered to. According to the code, campfires are only allowed at designated fire sites or with written permission.
    rizzodun wrote: »
    That brought another question, what about a beaches?
    If you built a proper fire pit and made sure to take all rubbish with you would it be permissable?
    You would have to check the relevant beach bye laws for the particular county. These bye laws tend to restrict camping. Certain bye laws forbid open fires and other bye laws do not specifically mention open fires at all.
    http://www.kerrycoco.ie/en/allservices/environment/beaches/beachbye-laws/thefile,8143,en.pdf
    http://www.corkcoco.ie/co/pdf/640037765.pdf

    See here and here.


  • Registered Users Posts: 9,554 ✭✭✭Pat Mustard


    As this thread relates more to wild camping, I've moved it to the Wild Camping forum.


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,598 ✭✭✭rizzodun


    Hi Pat, thanks for the info and links, I'll have a look at the local bye laws here, but that Coillte Rec. Policy booklet you linked is also valuable.


  • Moderators, Recreation & Hobbies Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 15,701 Mod ✭✭✭✭Tabnabs


    In my experience;if Coillte employees find you wild camping, they'll ask all sorts of details about your group and tell you absolutely no fire. This you agree to, until it gets dark and cold and you're pretty sure they have gone home for the day...

    But then, IMHO, if Coillte employees find you wild camping, you're doing it wrong. ;)


  • Registered Users Posts: 66 ✭✭sausagekayak


    I've been doing a bit of research on this topic this morning. I cant manage to find anywhere in Ireland where it is legal to wildcamp & have a campfire.
    Anyone have an ideas?


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  • Registered Users Posts: 9,554 ✭✭✭Pat Mustard


    I've been doing a bit of research on this topic this morning. I cant manage to find anywhere in Ireland where it is legal to wildcamp & have a campfire.
    Anyone have an ideas?

    Because most land is owned by somebody else, this is not going to be absolutely legal unless you have permission.

    The thing is that although wild camping is not regulated under a 'right to roam' as exists in other countries, a blind eye is turned to the practise, in many instances. However, private owners such as farmers may not take kindly to people camping on their lands.

    About as close as you are going to get is a beach in a place like County Cork, for example. Beaches in County Cork are regulated by beach bye laws, as linked above. However, the County Cork beach bye laws only apply during the summer season, which is defined in the bye law as between the "15th May until the 31st August inclusive".


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