Authorities continue campsite, beach checks to prevent fires and accidents

The extremely dry summer brought extreme fire danger as well as plenty of swimming accidents.
The extremely dry summer brought extreme fire danger as well as plenty of swimming accidents. Source: Priit Mürk/ERR

The Rescue Board along with the police is continuing its checks of recreation and swimming areas today to make sure nobody lights any fires. The danger of forest fires breaking out remains, which is why both authorities also continue their prevention activities, ERR's online news wrote on Thursday morning.

According to the Rescue Board, the State Forest Management Centre (RMK) and local authorities have joined their prevention efforts as well. Both maintain a large number of recreation areas, camping sites, forest huts, and campfire sites.

The objective of the checks is to make people understand that lighting fires is extremely dangerous at the moment, and to advise them how to move around outdoors without getting into or causing any danger, the Rescue Board said. By getting people to observe the current limits, authorities are hoping to prevent accidents and deaths.

As the Rescue Board's Martin Lambing explains, the checks make a great difference, and they have been able to prevent worse from happening. Still, there have been several smaller fires already this year, and several people have already drowned this summer.

According to RMK's Andres Sepp, most forest fires are caused by people not paying attention, or because they don't know how to act outdoors. A cigarette butt thrown out of a window, building a fire where they shouldn't, and even throwing glass bottles out that can act as a magnifying glass and focus enough light to cause a fire, all of these actions can currently have serious consequences, he pointed out.

Sepp advises everybody to leave matches and lighters at home, and reminds them as well not to throw cigarette butts out of car windows either.

The overall number of forest fires is up this year. As of 31 July, Estonia has already seen 177 of them this year, more than 50% more than in the whole of 2017. There were just 48 forest fires in the same period a year ago.

29 people drowned in the first seven months of 2018, 13 of them in July alone. According to authorities, a lot of the accidents involved carelessness, in some cases the victims were intoxicated.

Editor: Dario Cavegn

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