More wildfires in Estonian forests in first half of 2016 than entire previous year

Wildfire in Kuningakülla village, Illuka Parish, on Estonia's northeastern border with Russia. (Estonian Rescue Board)
7/25/2016 11:17 AM
Category: News

The first six months of 2016 have seen one-tenth more wildfires in Estonia than during all of 2015 combined, totaling 113 and 102 wildfires respectively, with a total of 73,000 euros already having been spent on firefighting efforts in Ida-Viru County alone.

Five bigger wildfires have occurred in the Estonian Rescue Board's Eastern Regional Rescue Center's service area, including one in Lääne-Viru County's Sõmeru Parish and four in Ida-Viru County, reported regional Estonian newspaper Põhjarannik.

Helen Tammets, the regional center's press secretary, noted that fighting wildfires is difficult, expensive and time-consuming work as a rule.

"As there often aren't any roads through the forest, machinery and equipment are often damaged while fighting fires," said Tammets.

She added that wildfire fighting was taxing of the rescue board's resources, and that if rescue workers' help was needed elsewhere at the same time, for example, they would inevitably be delayed in arriving as a result.

"Thankfully not one person went unrescued from this year's forest fires, and this period has not seen any accidental deaths in Lääne- and Ida-Viru Counties either," confirmed Tammets.

Editor: Aili Sarapik

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