Leave No Trace Ireland held a workshop on the issue of dealing with fires as part of its network meeting to offer people the chance to learn more about the Leave No Trace message and its application in relation to fires and how different organisations approach it. Apart from the poor attendance the day went very well and fuelled a lot of discussion on the issue of fires and the environment.
The first speaker of the day was Alan Horner from the Irish Sea Kayaking Association (ISKA) who introduced how their members are encouraged to have an appreciation of the environment in which they operate in and create as low an Impact to that environment as is possible. In doing this, they have embraced Leave No Trace as part of their guidelines for good environmental practice. Alan then went onto to talk about how sea kayakers can have a low impact when camping and what were the best practice guidelines for lighting fires in coastal areas and off-shore Islands. Alan also highlighted to the group that unfortunately none of the ISKA members had taken up any of the Leave No Trace Awareness Sessions that had been offered. He felt disheartened by this but told the group that the “ISKA Committee are keen to find new ways to deliver the environmental message Leave No Trace”.
Colm Kavanagh from Scouting Ireland discussed the practices and techniques that have been used by Scouting Ireland over the past years to build fires. Colm explained to the group that the main reason why scouts build fires was to cook their food so with this in mind he talked the group through the use of cleared ground fire places, altar fires, tin can stoves and stoves used for wild camping and mountain trekking as well as which ones work best in which conditions.
From an upland perspective, Helen Lawless from Mountaineering Ireland spoke about how vulnerable the upland areas are to fires. She also talked about the causes of fires and what impacts these had on the upland area as well as their costs.
Matthew Bushby was set to come and speak to the group about the initiative in the Mournes set up to tackle forest fires –‘The Safer Mournes Partnership’, although the group decided to finish off the workshop after the outdoor demonstrations by Vincent McAlinden on how to build a mound fire, because of the low attendance numbers.
The presentations from the event are now available to download from http://www.countrysiderecreation.com/downloads/Nov%202010%20Network%20Meeting.ppt