Witches’ Fires in Czech Republic: Where You Can and Can’t Light Them

Radek Plavecký

The traditional burning of witches, a popular Czech tradition, this year faces some restrictions due to the risk of potential fires. However, authorities have generally decided not to prohibit the bonfires provided safety measures are adhered to. Cities like Prague and the Central Bohemian region announced restrictions earlier, but a strict ban will not be enforced. Regulations in the Plzeň and Liberec regions stipulate that fires cannot be lit in forest parks or gardens.

Despite worsening weather conditions and the ongoing risk of fire spread, the Central Bohemian region, in agreement with the firefighters, has eased the conditions for burning fires. “Conditions must be observed, but a strict ban does not apply,” confirmed Veronika Mocová Švorcová, a spokeswoman for the Central Bohemian firefighters, indicating that organizers can again report fires to the reopened registration system.

However, because of conditions – mainly increasing wind – firefighters recommend reducing prepared boundaries and ensuring supervision, for example, by volunteer firefighters. Cities where large witch-burning events usually take place are adapting to the new conditions. For example, they are returning to Krásná louka on Mladá Boleslav’s outskirts after Monday’s fire revocation.

The ban on lighting fires in places of increased risk of fire outbreaks still applies in Prague. Such places are the forest and its immediate vicinity, forest park, park, or garden. However, visitors to the Yellow Spa in Prague’s Podolí do not have to worry about missing out on a celebration with traditional witch burning. The organizers should ignite about a three-meter bonfire at 6 pm.

Across the rest of the republic, there is no ban on burning fires yet. However, some places are cautious. For instance, in Žulová on Jesenicko, they prepared a smaller bonfire for safety reasons. “We didn’t think about canceling it completely. The event will occur behind the football fields, which is ideal. It’s hidden, the sun doesn’t shine there all day, there’s a stream next to it, and it’s not blowing yet,” Radek Tršťan, mayor of Žulová, told Novinky.