Latvia's forests "dry as a powder keg" warns official

A week without rain, plus high temperatures and a gusty wind have created a high risk of forest fire, warned an environmental official April 25.

So far this year 307 forest fires have been recorded, burning 181 hectares of forest, State Forest Service spokesman Zigmunds Jaunķiķis told LTV.

So far most of the fires have been in suburban forests near Rīga and Daugavpils, he said, urging people to think of the consequences of their actions, particularly with regard to bonfires, which are currently forbidden due to the tinderbox conditions.

City dwellers heading into nearby forest for recreation are frequently the cause of blazes.

Risks are very high and even the smallest spark can cause a major conflagration.

"The forest is so dry, it's like a powder keg," said Jaunķiķis, reminding the public to call 112 immediately to report a fire. He also said motor vehicles should not be driven off designated roads and byways due to the risk of them causing a fire.

Similar conditions prevailed last year, resulting in several major blazes which were sometimes contained only with great difficulty.

The State Fire and Rescue Service is also urging the public to be extra cautious and sensible with the entire country at high risk of forest fires.

 

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