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Rēzekni pārņem dūmi – sesto diennakti gruzd šķeldas kaudze

Rēzekne is smoking as woodchip piles burn for week

A pile of woodchips has been smoldering for six days in Rēzekne. Smoke and the smell of burning spreads in the city's northern neighborhoods. Firefighters are working at the scene, urging locals not to stay outdoors unnecessarily. The heap of woodchips was initially about 15,000 cubic meters in bulk, Latvian Television reported on December 6.

Tuesday December 5, was windless and therefore the smoke and smell of burn were more pronounced. Firefighters explained the smoke was rising from a heap of chips. There is no more open flame, but the chip keeps smoldering. Representatives of the authorities involved gathered at the scene on Wednesday morning.

Visvaldis Noviks, Head of Pollution Control Division of the State Environmental Service said that “air pollution norms in the wind direction are currently exceeded, therefore residents should not stay in the smoke zone for long without necessity, nor should they ventilate apartments.”

There is no high risk of poisoning as no chemicals are involved.

Vladimirs Petrovs, board Member of Rezekne Water Ltd, expressed his concern.

"There are city communications underneath this square, it's not coordinated with us. If there is any clogging in the sewer network, then a large district of the city will be left without sewer. We will not be able to access to service those networks," Vladimirs Petrovs noted.

The woodchips belong to the energy wood producer “Group R”. The company said they were leasing the land in question.

“This one will require us to check all necessary alignments both in the area and elsewhere -- whether everything is as it should be,” said Krisjanis Caune, spokesman for SIA “Group R.”

The company said the fire broke out due to the dramatic temperature fluctuations. 15,000 cubic meters of fuel chips have been kept in the area. Firefighters estimated the pile was initially twice as large as it is now.

“It's hard to predict how much more it will take to eliminate this smoldering by the end, because it's very, very difficult to get to smoldering spots that are in a heap of chips,” said Viktors Ščavinskis, commander of the Rezekne section of the State fire and Rescue Service.

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