Prague bans open fires for the rest of the week due to heatwave and drought

The ban includes not only barbecues and campfires, but also flying lanterns, torches, and even smoking in virtually any area with vegetation.

Expats.cz Staff

Written by Expats.cz Staff Published on 18.07.2022 18:00:00 (updated on 18.07.2022) Reading time: 2 minutes

To mitigate the risks brought by tropical heat, Prague has banned open fires in risky places from July 19 to 24. Despite some recent rain, ground cover still remains dry in many places.

The move is in response to a weather warning issued by the Czech Hydrometeorological Institute (CHMÚ). They have declared a risk of fire for all of the Czech Republic except the Vysočina and South Bohemia region. The CHMÚ has also predicted high temperatures, reaching up to 36 degrees Celsius in some areas this week.

The ban in Prague covers forests up to 50 meters from their edge; parks, gardens, and other areas covered in vegetation; storage areas for hay and straw and the surroundings up to 50 meters away; and agricultural areas with crops that can burn.

The ban does not only cover having an outdoor barbecue or campfire. It even extends to smoking, though electronic cigarettes are allowed. Throwing away smoldering items, such as a just-extinguished match, is also forbidden. People also are banned from burning raked leaves or twigs.

Pyrotechnic devices, flying lanterns, and tiki torches are also on the list. And while this does not apply to most people, there is also a ban on operating a steam train without sufficient precautions. It is also forbidden to use water from a source intended to extinguish fires for any other purpose.

While this specific ban only applies to Prague, people who are traveling outside the city should also exercise caution as local rules often also ban open fires, including smoking, in nature areas.

While forest fires have been rare in the Czech Republic, the risk is very real. A fire broke out in April in Bohemian Switzerland National Park, and a helicopter had to be called in to extinguish it. In 2020, several historical wooden structures burned down in the same park.

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Currently, there are large fires in several locations across Europe. A forest fire broke out in Germany near the Czech border on July 18 in the area known as Saxon Switzerland, not far from Dresden. Some 13 fire brigades are trying to get it under control. The cause of the fire is not yet known.

Fires have also been reported in Spain, Portugal, France, Greece, and Turkey in the past week.

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