Fires banned in Prague's parks

Dry condition have led to dangerous conditions in wooded areas

A ban on fires including smoking in Prague at places with a high fire risk is now in effect due to dry conditions. It will be in place until the Czech Hydrometeorological Institute (ČHMÚ) changes the declared risk level. The ČHMÚ has also expressed concern over dry conditions in the Central Bohemia, Liberec and Ústí nad Labem regions.

Prague's regulations define conditions for increased fire risk as high air temperature and long-term lack of precipitation resulting in low soil moisture and dry vegetation.

Areas, where the ban is in affect, are: any forest and its surroundings within 50 meters of its edge; any forest park, park, garden and other stand that allow the creation and spread of a fire; haystacks, straw and surrounding areas within 50 meters of their edges; and agricultural areas that can ignite and spread fire.

Prohibited activities include making or keeping open fires; smoking (with the exception of electronic cigarettes); using pyrotechnic articles (fireworks); using flying lanterns, other lanterns or torches; throwing burning or smoldering objects; driving steam locomotives without precautions; and using water from a firefighting source for purposes other than extinguishing fires.

Prague has a relatively high amount of parks and ranks among the cities with the most forests and parks per square kilometer.

This is not the first ban on making fires in Prague this year. One was announced at the end of April and prevented the annual symbolic witch burnings on Walpurgisnacht, or Čarodějnice. This led to a large number of upset people, as big parties involving bonfires had been planned, but the fires could not be lit.

The risk of fires is not to be taken lightly. A fire recently broke out in the protected Kokořín forest area on Central Bohemia.

Large, out of control fires have been reported in Latvia and Sweden.

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