Fire season has officially started in Latvia

The State Forest Service has gone through the annual process of officially declaring fire season beginning April 24 throughout Latvia, according to the service on April 23.

During this period forest owners must clear forest paths and trails of fallen trees and bushes, so that forest firefighting trucks can freely pass if necessary.

Everyone must follow fire safety measures while in the forest, as the most common cause of forest fires is human negligence (87.6% in 2019). If certain bans and restrictions are violated, the persons responsible could hold administrative, civil and criminal liability.

While in a forest or swamp it's forbidden to:

  • Discard burning or smoldering matches, cigarette butts or other objects
  • Light bonfires, except in specially marked location
  • Leave a bonfire unattended
  • Burn trash
  • Drive motor vehicles off the road
  • Do any other activity that can cause a fire

Any sort of fire that creates smoke is forbidden without coordinating with the State Forest Service Forestry Division, because smoke can mislead those watching for fire from watchtowers. Forest developers must also refrain from burning tree felling remains without written permission from the Forestry Division. After a fire has been put out in a privately-owned forest, the owner is responsible for monitoring the fire location.

So far in 2020 there have been 121 registered forest fires, which have burned 51.4 hectares of forest, including 23.7 hectares of new growth. In 2019 fires were extinguished 1,110 times, burning 821.67 hectares of forest. In 4.3% of cases were a result of arson.
 

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