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Take extra care during forest fire season

Despite generally damp conditions, April 26 brought the start of the annual forest fire risk season across Latvia, when special care must be taken in public forests and open spaces so as not to cause a potentially disastrous conflagration.

During this period, a number of conditions must be met, not only for forest owners, but also for every visitor to the forest, said state-owned forestry company Latvia's State Forests (LVM). 

"In certain weather conditions, a badly-extinguished campfire or smoldering cigarette butt is enough to cause a fire in the forest, warns LVM, noting that the main cause of forest fires is conscious or unconscious human action. 

"LVM invites every forest visitor during the fire-fighting period - from spring to autumn - to remember: it is forbidden to use an open flame in forests, except for recreational facilities with special fire places, as well as being forbidden to leave fires unattended, drop matches, cigarettes and other objects, as well as drive motor vehicles through the forest off designated roads!"

 

If using a provided fire place at a campsite or recreation spot, the fire must be completely extinguished using water or nearby mineral soil and you should not leave until the fire is completely out and could not be fanned back to life by strong winds, for example. 

Members of the public are also urged to take waste with them or use specially-designated waste bins or trashcans instead of burning waste.

In addition, motor vehicles may only be driven on specially built forest roads and may only be parked where they do not disturb access for forest managers and firefighters. Unauthorized use of motorcycles and quad bikes off forest roads is strictly prohibited. When driving through the forest on a motorcycle or quad bike, the sparks they create can cause forest fires.

According to LVM, there have already been 26 forest fires recorded this spring season.

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