Grass fires blaze across Latvia with two dead in five days

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Between April 14 and the morning of April 19, the State Fire and Rescue Service (VUGD) extinguished 149 grass fires (so-called kūla fires), VUGD said Tuesday.

On Monday at 6 PM firefighters rushed to a call on Krustabaznīcas Street in Riga, where grass and dry branches were burning in an area of 100 square meters. A dead person was found at the scene of the event. The State Police (VP) shall investigate the death.

Monday afternoon in the Nagļu parish of Rēzekne municipality, grass and reeds burned across  100 hectares. After seven hours, the fire was extinguished. This was the biggest grass fire this year so far.

Last Thursday, a person also died in a grass fire in Ludza municipality.

 923  grass fires have already been extinguished this year. Setting fire to fields on purpose is illegal and punishable by a fine. Official advice remains that old grass should be cut and preferably composted rather than immolated.

Despite the legal penalties, widespread campaigns, and the obvious hazard to humans and wildlife from setting dry grass on fire, thousands of grass fires blaze across the country each year.

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