| 15.8°C Dublin

Warning of drought and forest fires in sizzling 27C heat

Close

Sabrina Fernandez and Daniele Barabacha, from Dublin, enjoy the sunshine at Seapoint. Photo: Frank McGrath

Sabrina Fernandez and Daniele Barabacha, from Dublin, enjoy the sunshine at Seapoint. Photo: Frank McGrath

Sabrina Fernandez and Daniele Barabacha, from Dublin, enjoy the sunshine at Seapoint. Photo: Frank McGrath

An exceptionally dry spring and the current spell of sunny weather are posing a threat of forest fires and summer drought.

As families enjoyed one of the finest June bank holiday weekends on record, the temperature soared to nearly 27C and thousands of people ignored lockdown controls to flock to coastal resorts.

For those obeying the 5km travel rule and sticking with back garden barbecues and picnics, there is the prospect of another four days of fine weather, although temperatures will peak today at nearly 27C.

The sizzling conditions will end on Wednesday, with an expected seven-degree drop, although there will still be spells of sunshine.

Parched

Met Eireann's Evelyn Cusack said the country now needed rain following the dry spring and the current hot spell, with land in many areas "quite parched".

If significant rain fails to fall, Ireland could be facing drought conditions over the summer, with likely controls on water usage nationwide.

Dublin and the east coast have just enjoyed their mildest winter for 160 years.

It was also the warmest February on record, with the highest ever winter temperature of 17.2C recorded on February 26.

The Department of Agriculture and the Forest Service issued a status red forest fire warning as the combination of high temperatures and tinder dry conditions pose a major risk.

Forestry officials warned there should be no sources of ignition near woods, either barbecues or open campfires.

Walkers were urged not to leave behind broken glass that could serve as an ignition source.

Concern over potential forest fires has been heightened by a forecast of blustery conditions across the south and west, which could fan flames.

There was also a reminder to use sun creams and avoid heat stroke by taking time in the shade and drinking fluids.

Families can plan picnics, barbecues and strolls in the sunshine until at least Thursday.

"It will be a dry, very warm and sunny bank holiday Monday with the highest temperatures of 22C to 27C," Met Eireann said.

"It will be warmest in the midlands and the west of the country.

"Likewise, it will be warm and sunny on Tuesday, but becoming cooler and more unsettled from then on.

"The best of the sunshine on Tuesday will be in Dublin and along the east coast."

Temperatures will then slide back to between 20C and 25C.

Wednesday will see a significant cooling, with a drop to around 18C, although there will still be spells of bright sunshine.

Thursday promises dry, sunny spells with temperatures still well under 20C, with Friday proving more unsettled with the prospect of light rain.