Valdgale fire could smolder on for months

Even with helicopters helping firefighters battle a major fire in Valdgale parish, the peat-rich soil of the area will most probably only be completely extinguished when it starts raining heavily in the fall, the State Fire and Rescue Service's representative Inta Palkavniece told LETA July 25.

Helicopters are a great help as they are efficient at securing perimeter and can pour water from above on areas inaccessible to firefighters on the ground. Regardless, peat will most probably only stop smoldering once it starts raining in the fall, explained Palkavniece.

She also said that formalities were still being settled so a helicopter from Belarus could join the firefighting effort in Valdgale as quickly as possible.

On the night July 25, there were no open flames within the perimeter set up by firefighters, but the ground continued to smolder inside the particular perimeter.

However, Thursday promises to be challenging again with temperatures of around 30 Celsius expected and very little chance of rain.

On Wednesday, July 25, an army helicopter participated in the fire to extinguish the darkness in the evening, and on Thursday, early in the morning, the helicopter was restarted.     

As reported, the fire in a peat bog in Valdgale County has now burned for more than a week, consuming more than 1,000 hectares of peat bog and forest.

During a crisis meeting on Monday, the government authorized the Fire and Rescue Service to request international help to extinguish the fire. However, Prime Minister Māris Kučinskis remains on holiday - which has prompted some criticism from the public - so his ministers are handling the crisis in his absence.

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