"We are unable to pay bonuses, but we have promised apaid day off in addition to the holiday allowance for each officer who catchesa burner of old grass," the minister said.
The problem of grass burning creating pollution and startingforest fires is an annual problem when farmers start setting fire to theirfields in order to freshen up the soil.
Every year the fire departments report out of control fires,causing more damage than good. The practice has been made illegal. Murniece hassaid that offenders will be charged with paying for the cost of extinguishingthe fires.
As many fire fighters and police have undergone wage andstaff cuts, departments can no longer afford to put out all the firesthemselves.
"Grass burning is a kind of Latvian tradition, but thisyear the government will not be able to undertake an advertising campaigntelling people not to burn our land, so we chose this more radical and swiftmove," Interior ministry spokesperson told the German Press Agency.