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More rural, fewer urban fires in 2019

file photo

Eight people died in fires in 2019, a report said on Thursday, as the fire service responded to 6,381 fires, up 4.19 per cent against the previous year, in which two people died.

An official fire service report said 31 people were also injured from fires last year, one less than 2018.

Of the 6,381 fires, 4,026 were in rural areas and 2,355 in urban, the report said.

Wildfires increased by 3.9 per cent, the fire service said, but they were down 41.8 per cent in April, a period traditionally marked by more blazes due to the Easter celebrations.

Wildfires were started by people and not by natural causes in 92 per cent of the cases. Cigarettes and stubble burning were among the main cause of human-related blazes.

The area affected by wildfires in 2019 amounted to around 10 square kilometres, down from 15.1 square kilometres in 2018.

Urban fires decreased by 3.72 per cent in 2019 compared with the previous year. These were mostly caused by electrical appliances, electrical problems in vehicles, defective chimneys and, cigarette butts.

People were responsible for urban fires in 90 per cent of the cases.

Fires in 2019 caused damage worth €10.8m, the report said.

In total, 12,804 calls for assistance were made to the fire service in 2019.

The number of false calls for 2019 amounted to 866, compared to 710 for 2018, registering an increase of 21.97 per cent.



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