Firefighters still battling forest blaze after 110 hours

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Teams from the state Fire and Rescue Service (VUGD) continued to work at the site of a major forest fire July 22, more than 110 hours since they started.

A statement from the VUGD said operations would continue throughout Sunday to dampen down the flames which are made particularly problematic by the fact that the soil is flammable peat in many places, with the ability to flare up again even after the flames appear to have been put out.

Unhelpful winds and dry weather caused that to happen several times on Saturday, so that firefighting efforts are primarily aimed at preventing the fire spreading outside the area which it has already claimed near Valdgale in Talsi district.

As in previous days, helicopters will help to tackle the fire from above in addition to the work on the ground.
"We still urge the people not to come close to the fire and also not to plan walks or or mushrooming in surrounding forests," said the VUGD in an update, also advising residents in nearby areas to close windows and doors if they smell smoke.
Some residents of the village of Stikli were reported by LSM's Latvian language service to have returned to their homes after being evacuated, having signed declarations that in doing so they take full responsibility for the decision. 
Information from the European Union's Environmental Monitoring Program Copernicus shows that the area of ​​forest and peat bog consumed by the flames reached 840 hectares on Saturday night, said LSM weatherman Toms Bricis.


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