Rescue workers in Lääne-Viru, Ida-Viru and Harju counties were busy on Sunday, after being called to extinguish several large-scale fires at the same time. Over the weekend, Estonian rescue workers put out a total of 37 forest and landscape fires.
In eastern Estonian regions, rescuers extinguished three large forest and landscape fires on Sunday. A major chunk of the Rescue Board's resources were still engaged in putting out fires on Sunday evening.
The Rescue Board's East-Estonian regional staff was also convened to monitor the situation and ensure sufficient capacity is available in Ida-Viru and Lääne-Viru counties to respond to the long-standing challenges related to landscape fires in the region.
At 12.20 p.m. on Sunday, the Emergency Response Center was notified of a large-scale fire in the village of Kiiva in Haljala Municipality. Covering almost six hectares. At 3.39 p.m., a further call came in from of Läste in Tapa Parish, where a 10 hectare area of peat field and forest was on fire.
At 5.57 p.m., the center was notified of another large forest fire, this time on an area of approximately 1.5 hectares in Konsu village.
On Sunday evening, the Rescue Board was asking residents in the vicinity of Illuka and Iisaku to keep windows and doors closed and to turn off ventilation systems. People were also advised stay away from the affected area and to avoid inhaling harmful smoke.
Over the weekend, rescue workers extinguished 37 forest and landscape fires, taking the total number to 660 since the beginning of the year.
The board put out a fire hazard warning on June 14, which bans all bonfires, barbecues and even cigarette smoking on public wilderness land, primarily where peat, scrub and forest is present, including that operated by the RMK (State Forest Management Center).
During the high season, even a small spark can be enough to start a large fire.
All of the above remain permitted on private land, provided all relevant safety measures are followed. However, the Rescue Board recommends avoiding fires even in such cases.
With the week ahead also set to bring temperatures of up to 31C and little chance of rain, the risk of more fires is set to increase in the coming days.
Editor: Michael Cole