As LSM recently explained, the attraction of the mushroom is powerful at this time of the year, sometimes luring Latvians, siren-like, into deadly situations.
And no situation could be more deadly than the middle of a live-fire exercise on the shooting ranges at Adazi base just outside Riga.
Unfortunately the pristine forest is ideal for fungal growth, and not just in the boots of soldiers running through combat drills there. Mushroom pickers have been known to evade perimeter security measures on the vast range in search of hidden treasure, risking life, limb and the effectiveness of the military exercise itself if it has to be suspended due to mushroomers popping up in the middle of the combat zone.
In a series of tweets, the armed forces politely suggest that mushroomers would be better off choosing "safer places", preferably places without the danger of high explosives and 7.62 mm ammunition flying about.
Sēņotāj! Ādažu poligonā intensīvi notiek militārās mācības ar kaujas munīciju. Aicinām sēņošanai izvēlēties drošākas vietas— NBS (@Latvijas_armija) September 9, 2017
Atrašanās Ādažu poligonā rada draudus dzīvībai un veselībai, un traucē militāro mācību un vingrinājumu norisei!— NBS (@Latvijas_armija) September 9, 2017
So if you go mushrooming, remember the tell-tale signs of a safe picking location:
1) Are there signs saying "NO ENTRY! MILITARY ZONE! DANGER TO LIFE!"
2) Are there explosions happening?
3) Is there the sound of gunfire?
4) Are there lots of people speaking foreign languages, in uniform and/or tanks?
If you can answer "Yes" to any one of these questions, you should probably be mushrooming somewhere else. And if you can answer "Yes" to all of them, you may possibly have also wandered across the border into Russia and are actually part of the ZAPAD exercises.