A Police and Border Guard Board (PPA) plane seeking to determine the source of a bluish haze over Central and Southern Estonia on Thursday did not find any fires on Estonian territory, the PPA South Prefecture told ERR on Thursday night. According to the Rescue Board, the haze was caused by smoke blown over Estonian territory from the southeast.
Beginning midday Thursday, the Rescue Board received many calls, primarily from Southern and Central Estonia, from people who had noticed a blue haze in the air and smelled smoke. The Rescue Board responded to each call, but did not find any fires.
In order to determine the possible source of the smoke, the PPA used its plane to perform an aerial inspection over the country.
South Prefecture spokesperson Ragne Keisk told ERR at 19:45 EEST on Thursday that the flight had been concluded and no dangers had been identified.
"Apparently it's as meteorologist suspected, that it is from somewhere in Russia or Belarus," she suggested as the possible source of the haze.
Ms Keisk, who was located near Tartu at the time, said that the smoke had not disappeared from the sky in Southern Estonia by evening either.
"If you look at the sky, it's still not entirely clear; looking off into the distance you can still see smoke," she described.
The South Regional Rescue Centre of the Rescue Board told ERR at 20:00 that the smoky haze was definitely not caused by a fire on Estonian territory. According to the pilot to conduct the aerial inspection, the smoke had been seen to have drifted north, between Türi and Tallinn, and from the plane the smoke cloud could no longer be seen south of Türi.
Rescue Board Chief Duty Officer Toomas Kääparin said that the board had also contacted rescuers in Russia's Pskov Oblast, located immediately to Estonia's southeast, to inquire about local fire conditions that may have been the source of the smoke, but according to the latter, there were currently no active fires in Pskov Oblast.
A NASA satellite image has indicated that there are wildfires burning in Russia and Belarus, indicating one possible source of the smoke.
Editor: Aili Vahtla