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Three times larger damage compensation fines for burning grass

2014-03-12

Minister of Environment Valentinas Mazuronis tripled the fines today for environmental damages caused by burning grass. This was set by the calculation method approved of by the minister for environmental damages caused by destroying or damaging natural landscape objects.

“Before buying matches, the ill-intentioned had better consider how much it might cost them,” - said Valentinas Mazuronis at the press conference held at the Ministry of Environment today. If the fine for a single hectare of burned meadow had been 1,000 Lt before, violators will now have to pay 3,000 Lt. In the event that a grass fire spreads into surrounding forests or protected territories, certain coefficients can be applied to damage calculations that can cause fines to reach the tens of thousands in Lt.

Vice-Minister of Environment Linas Jonauskas, Environmental Protection Agency director Raimondas Sakalauskas, Fire and Rescue Department under the Ministry of the Interior director Remigijus Baniulis and Emergency Response Center chief Jūris Targauskas all participated in the press conference as well.

Every summer, last year's unharvested grass fields are intentionally burned across the nation, especially in Eastern Lithuania. Almost all spring forest fires arise due to this practice. Putting out grass fires is expensive. Fire and Rescue Department director Remigijus Baniulis discussed this at the press conference. Last year, for example, firemen had to extinguish grass fires 2,677 times and grass stubble fires 147 times.

The environment suffers massive damage from grass fires. Insects and other animals die in the burning meadows, as do the birds that lay their eggs there. The fire from these burning meadows often spreads to nearby forests, bogs, homesteads and agricultural buildings. People die almost every year in these burning meadows as well. Over the last five years, ten people have died in such fires. However, not everyone learns from such painful lessons - last night, an elderly woman was burned while putting out a grass fire.

Those who set grass fires may also face administrative liabilities. Citizens face fines from 200 Lt to 1,000 Lt, while authorities face fines from 400 to 1,200 Lt. Last year, environmental officers identified 28 individuals who had burned grass and who received 2,400 Lt in administrative fines. Land owners, users and controllers who fail to take fire prevention measures upon noticing a grass fire on their land may be held liable as well. They may be fined from 100 Lt to 600 Lt.

Grass fires are caused not just by rural residents, but by city residents as well. City residents need to know that burning grass or other waste on an open fire within city territory is forbidden.

The Ministry of Environment would like to ask residents not to pass by any grass fires they may see and to try to extinguish them to prevent them from spreading.

Burning grass on a small plot of land is easy to extinguish by beating it with sticks or stomping on it with one's feet. Such fires can also be put out with water or sand. If it becomes clear that the fire cannot be put out, please call the emergency phone number 112.

Public Information Division
2014-03-12

Minister of Environment of Lithuania Kęstutis Navickas
Minister of Environment of Lithuania Kęstutis Navickas