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Rescue Board issues bonfire advice for Midsummer's Day

Midsummer night event in Tallinn, June 23 2022.
Midsummer night event in Tallinn, June 23 2022. Source: Siim Lõvi /ERR

The Rescue Board (Päästeamet) is urging people to be extremely careful when building bonfires this week for Midsummer celebrations. A ban has been in place since June 14 due to the hot, dry weather.

Since June 14, it has been forbidden to make fires, have BBQs, and smoke in public forested or peat-soil areas due to the very dry ground and lack of rain.

A fine of over €1,000 can be issued if the ban is breached.

Bonfires, a Midsummer's Day tradition, can still be held in backyards and organized by communities and municipalities, although the Rescue Board advises against it. But if people do go ahead, it is advising extreme caution.

It says a fire should only be made in windless or calm weather. Wind direction must be monitored so that sparks do not fall on the building or vegetation.

Additionally, soil around the fire could be dampened so that flames do not spread

The agency says fires must be made as far away from combustible materials — such as buildings and forests — as possible. They must be made on "a well maintained" place and the grass must be mowed.

Areas around campsites must be cleared of debris and surrounded by a pile of earth or stones, it said.

Fire extinguishers should be on the scene and all embers should be put out at the end of the party.

The fire must not be left unattended because even a few seconds are enough for an accident to occur, the Rescue Board said. It recommends assigning a person to monitor the fire at all times.

If an emergency occurs, call 112 immediately.

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Editor: Helen Wright

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