Midsummer is one of the most popular holidays in Estonia, and celebrations typically center around large bonfires lit on Midsummer's Eve. This year, the Rescue Board is recommending people celebrate the holiday in smaller groups of friends and family, and sharing tips for ensuring a safe bonfire.
In order to encourage safe bonfires, the Rescue Board is calling on people to designate a bonfire monitor and encouraging them to register their monitored bonfires on a special bonfire map (link in Estonian), according to a press release.
"The bonfire monitor's job is to ensure that the bonfire is burned safely and that fire safety requirements are adhered to," said Sandra Tammiksaar, an expert at the Rescue Board's Prevention Department. "The bonfire monitor will also keep an eye out to make sure that other people celebrating follow safety guidelines, and when the celebration ends, the monitor will also extinguish the fire."
As more people than usual are expected to celebrate Midsummer in their own backyards and at their summer or country homes, Tammiksaar urges everyone to be extra careful and attentive to make sure that their bonfires do not burn out of control.
"You definitely have to take wind direction and speed into account, and make sure that there is no combustible material lying around the bonfire site," she added.
The bonfire monitor campaign is in its third year this summer; last year, a total of 437 people registered themselves as designated bonfire monitors.
Fire safety tips
- Keep a charged phone handy for calling 112 if necessary
- For bonfires of up to 1 meter in width, ensure a distance of 8 meters from any buildings
- For bonfires over 1 meter wide, ensure a distance of at least 15 meters from any buildings
- All bonfires should be kept at least 20 meters away from woods or forest
- Keep bonfire sites clear of any combustible materials
- Burn only clean wood, cardboard and paper
- Bonfires may only be burned in conditions of little to no wind (max wind speeds of 5.4 m/s)
- Keep extinguishing agents such as a bucket of water or sand or a fire extinguisher handy when grilling or burning a bonfire
- Do not leave any fires unattended
- Make sure that any fires are fully extinguished
- Call the Rescue Board's info hotline at 1524 with any fire safety-related questions
Editor: Aili Vahtla