A forest fire started in Klooga Bog in Harju County on Saturday spreading to cover an area of nearly 150 hectares. The blaze was localized late on Saturday evening.
The Alarm Center received a call about a fire in Klooga Bog at 3.18 p.m. on Saturday afternoon. The fire is raging at the Defense Forces Klooga training polygon, while there are no grounds to believe Defense Forces or Defense League activities were its cause.
The Rescue Board said on Saturday that the fire raged on 100 hectares, while the board later determined it to be 150 hectares. The fire did not spread during the night.
The board's press representative said that while there are numerous pockets of fire, open flames have been contained. The Rescue Board plans to put its resources to maximum effect before the midday heat on Sunday, with its priority to find and put out pockets of fire.
It remains unknown what started the fire.
A total of 14 firefighting teams rushed to the scene on Saturday, including professional and voluntary units. Head of the rescue effort Leonid Pahhutši told "Aktuaalne kaamera" at 9 p.m. that units across the entire Rescue Center North and teams from neighboring centers were mobilized.
The Police and Border Guard Board's (PPA) helicopter also took part in the rescue effort. "The flight squad is tasked with reconnaissance to determine the extent of the blaze. Also, to help fight the inferno from the air to stop it spreading as soon as possible," PPA operations chief Rain Jõeveer explained.
The helicopter's bucket holds about a ton of water, with water lifted from the nearby Klooga Lake or the sea, depending on the direction the blaze is moving in.
Pahhutši added that the Estonian Academy of Security Sciences and private sector participants are helping map the fire.
The head of rescue efforts said fighting the fire is complicated by very difficult terrain. "We need to use tracked vehicles to quickly access the area. Another aggravating factor is strong wind that favors the fire spreading," Pahhutši explained.
He said that preliminary assessments suggest the fire has spread to around 100 hectares. Pahhutši added that putting out the fire completely might take time as the area is large and difficult to access and the fire has ignited the forest floor in some places.
The fire was localized at 11.05 p.m. on Saturday, with work putting out the remaining flames to continue on Sunday. Strong winds mean the situation remains changeable.
The Rescue Board asks the people of nearby Põllküla to stay vigilant and call 112 as soon as they detect fire or smoke and to immediately leave the area. The board says that while houses in the area are not in immediate danger, the situation might change quickly because of the wind.
The State Weather Service forecasts dry weather to continue that will further hike fire risk over the coming days. People are urged to exercise caution and observe fire safety rules.
Editor: Marcus Turovski