Forest fire warning remains in place across Latvia

Latvia's fire service is repeating calls for the public to be careful when out and about in nature to avoid starting a catastrophic forest fire.

The State Fire and Rescue Service (VUGD) warned June 13 that a discarded cigarette, or a spark from a grill or vehicle exhaust could be enough to start a serious blaze due to the tinder-dry state of Latvia's forests at present after a protracted dry spell. 

A forest fire warning remains in place across the whole of Latvian territory with central and western districts rated 'dangerous' (orange alert) and eastern districts 'potentially dangerous' (yellow alert). The warning is expected to remain in place until Saturday when some rain is expected to reduce the risk.

In the 24 hours to Wednesday morning, firefighters received 70 calls: 41 for extinguishing fires, including nine for extinguishing forest fires, 20 for rescue work, and nine false alarms.

In one incident, firefighters responded to a fire in a peat bog in Vecsaules parish of Bauska county. At the scene, it was found that between the forest and the peat swamp, a pile of stumps and branches four meters high was burning with an open flame in an area of ​​1200 square meters. Due to the wind, the flames were spreading rapidly towards the forest but 12 firefighters and rescuers with four cisterns managed to prevent the forest from catching fire though damping-down work at the scene continued throughout the night.

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