A huge black plume was visible as far as Riga, 20 kilometers away, and beyond, and residents of the upscale Jūrmala resort were told to shut their windows by firefighters to prevent foul-smelling smoke filling their apartments and houses.
More than 50 firefighters worked through the night Sunday and Monday morning in an effort to bring the blaze under control. By 6 a.m. the State Fire and Rescue Service (VUGD) said they had localized what was estimated to be a 12,000 square meter fire, though it was still burning. The large scale of the blaze and its awkward location made getting sufficient water to the site a challenge, the VUGD told media.
Ugunsdzēsēji vēl strādā,lai nodzēstu ugunsgrēku Jūrmalā.Šonakt aicinām apkārtnes iedzīvotājus logus aizvērt ciet, lai nelaistu dūmus telpās! pic.twitter.com/0JVIfvdZN9— VUGD (@ugunsdzeseji) June 18, 2017
The acrid black smoke was believed to be caused by the burning of plastic items. The blaze also caused disruption to road traffic and rail services in and around Jurmala - as well as making a day at the beach considerably less attractive an idea than usual.
The National Armed Forces also lent a helicopter to the firefighting efforts, as the video below shows.
Gaisa spēku aviācijas bāzes helikopters "Mi-17" iesaistīts ugunsgrēka dzēšanas darbos - blakus Venstpils šosejai, Jūrmalā pic.twitter.com/imdRE2GKd0— NBS (@Latvijas_armija) June 18, 2017
According to an officials of State Environmental Service (SES) Inga Koļegova, speaking to Latvian Radio, the site was suspected of performing illegal waste disposal and was expected to be 'cleaned up' by June 24.