Be grill-safe this Midsummer, firefighters plead

With Midsummer bonfires ready to be lit across Latvia, but tinder-dry conditions in fields and forests, the State Fire and Rescue Service (VUGD) is doing its best to appeal to common sense and safety ahead of the celebrations.

That extends to the popular practice of grilling food on barbecues, another staple of Midsummer.

On June 20 the VUGD issued a set of grill-related tips, the chief one being that anyone indulging in the use of alcohol should delegate grilling duties to someone who is not.

Other tips include:

  • Only use specially designed grill lighting and burning products
  • Don't throw gasoline onto the grill
  • Ensure the grill is stable on a flat surface
  • Choose a grilling spot away from buildings and trees
  • Don't grill on a balcony
  • Don't burn plastics or tires [which remains an astonishing tradition among some people]  


As reported each year by LSM, fire crews and rescuers are always kept busy during the Midsummer holidays, though many of the annual tragedies could have been avoided. 

In the past 24 hours alone the State Fire and Rescue Service (VUGD) received 75 calls – 35 for extinguishing fires, including seven for extinguishing forest fires, 33 for rescue work, and seven false alarms.

Last year from June 22 to the early morning of June 27, the VUGD received 362 calls – 131 for firefighting, including four forest fires, 142 for rescue operations, while 89 calls turned out to be mistakes or hoaxes. A lengthy dry period in recent weeks with forest fire warnings in force across the country means that 2023 has the potential to keep hard-pressed firefighters busier than ever.



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