Bog fire near Sigulda contained; 200 hectares possibly burned

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With the help of long-awaited rain, firefighters managed to contain the vast bog and forest fire in Sigulda municipality on Tuesday evening, Latvian Television reported July 28.

The fire in the 'Lielais un Pemmes purvs' bog in Sigulda municipality broke out on Monday, July 26, morning, and after more than a day of extinguishing works, on Tuesday, July 27, firefighters finally managed to contain it.

“[The rain] will help us very, very much. It will ensure that the spread of the fire is no longer happening today,” said Andrejs Asītis, chief executive of the State Forest Service Inčukalns Forest Fire Station.

The biggest difficulty in the firefighting works was access to burning sites: if firefighters managed to fight the flames within 200 meters of the roads, it was almost impossible to get deeper into the bog. The National Armed Forces (NBS) and State Border Guard helicopters were involved. 

After the fire has been contained, the VMD continue to measure the burned area – it is already well known that at least 80 hectares have been burned, but it may have been much wider. Preliminary estimates show that even 200 hectares of swamps and forests could have been burned.

The damage caused to nature, the material damage, as well as the causes of the fire, are also being investigated.

“The potential cause of the fire is not known, but it could possibly be the result of the action of the berry pickers. In principle, our statistics show that fires occur as a result of human activity, negligence or, in some cases, malpractice,” said Zigmunds Jaunķiķis, Deputy Head of the Forest and Environmental Protection Division of VMD.

In total, more than 350 forest fires have been extinguished by the VMD this year, with around 300 hectares affected by fire.

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