LATVIA – This year, since February 27, when the first grass fire was recorded, rescuers have rushed to 21 cases of burning grass, Latvian Radio reported March 19.
This is on average a fire a day.
Grass burning is prohibited and the persons responsible may be penalized. The owner of the land may also be punished by the for allowing the burning of the grass
Burning the grass harms the environment and can cause fire accidents, said Dzintars Lagzdiņš, chief of the State Fire and Rescue Service Fire Protection Supervision Administration.
“There should be no false belief that fire can be made into an organized restricted burning process. The wind can change every minute in the spring, and if the grass is longer, it is virtually impossible to extinguish when more wind blows,” said Lagzdiņš.
Hundreds of grass fires (kūlas ugunsgrēki) are registered in Latvia each year, to such extent that burning grass is sometimes referred to as a national hobby.
Rather than being burned in situ, grass should be cut and burned on a safe bonfire with proper precautions to stop it spreading – or preferably composted if possible.