The forestry department on Tuesday reminded the public that felling of trees for the purpose of burning them in Easter bonfires is illegal and a punishable offence.

According to its announcement, written permission from the department is required for the felling of forest as well as ornamental trees, regardless of location.

The department emphasised no permission will be given to cut down trees for bonfires.

According to the legislation, the illegal felling of trees is punishable by a fine of up to €5,000 and/or imprisonment of up to one year.

The department called on local authorities, organised groups and the public to immediately report any incident of tree felling to the local forestry offices or the police.

Regarding upcoming Easter celebrations, the department urged extra caution due to higher-than-usual temperatures and reminded the public that permits are required from the mines service and the police for purchase and use fireworks.

Lighting of a fire anywhere in the countryside is prohibited except for food preparation in designated spots within picnic and camping areas.

Lighting a fire within state forests or 2km from their edges constitutes an offense which is punishable by imprisonment of up to ten years and/or a fine of up to €50,000.

Anyone who notices smoke or fire in or near a forest should report it to the nearest forestry station without delay or call 1407 or 112.