Estonia / Latvia –The forest fire near Aitsra village near the Estonian-Latvian border that the Latvian emergency service notified Estonia of on Wednesday had spread to almost 45 hectares by Thursday morning, by which time firefighters had contained the blaze, informs LETA/BNS.
The Estonian emergency center was informed by their Latvian counterpart agency about a forest fire in the area of the border at 2:13 p.m. on Wednesday. Firefighters dispatched to the scene of the fire in the territory of the Hummuli rural municipality of Valga County initially estimated the size of the affected area to be four hectares. Later on, as the fire kept spreading, it was established that 20 hectares of forest was burning.
In addition to firefighters and vehicles from Valga, Torva, Antsla, Mustla, Elva and Jogeva volunteers from Karksi-Nuia, Karula and Sangaste arrived on the scene. Following a request to the rescue service of Latvia one firefighting vehicle from Latvia arrived, spokespeople for the rescue center for South Estonia said.
In addition, workers of the Environmental Inspectorate with drones and a helicopter of the Police and Border Guard Board took part in the effort to contain the fire. Work was complicated by bad cell reception and radio reception in the border area, the spokespeople said.
Towards the evening professional firefighters from Otepaa and volunteers from Rongu were brought in and the Latvian rescuers allowed to go home.
Spread of the fire was stopped by early on Thursday morning and at present firefighters are putting out remaining blazes in the burned out area.