Weather sparks forest fires

  • 2006-07-10
  • By TBT staff
TALLINN - Authorities in Estonia and Lithuania are battling a growing number of fires during the hot and dry summer period.
The Estonian Rescue Board said the situation was critical, with 113 forest fires raging across the country this summer, compared to 65 last year.
Soldiers and a border guard helicopter have been summoned to assist some 60 firefighters battling blazes in Kurtna in the nation's north-east.
Rescue Board spokesman Toomas Viks said it was early to speak about economic loss, as blazes were still raging out of control in various parts, with the rescue workers trying to prevent the fire reaching dwellings.
Residents have been asked to refrain from entering forested areas until the hot weather desists, while a fire ban has been put in place in state forests.
"Even the smallest spark, such as from a burning cigarette butt, could cause a new fire in the forests," Viks said.
In Lithuania, almost 800 fires were reported last week, according to radio reports.
Temperatures of around 30 degrees Celsius have kept conditions dangerously dry, with more hot weather forecast for the coming days.