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MOSCOW, March 23 (Itar-Tass) —— Russia will earmark in 2012 a total of 12 billion rubles (400 million US dollars) to fight forest fires which inflict major damage each spring and summer.
First Deputy Prime Minister Viktor Zubkov said Russian regions had already received two billion rubles from the federal budget for forest protection and the amount is to increase to 4.4 billion. Another five billion will be earmarked to buy hardware. The regions will add 2.6 billion from their own budgets, he said in an interview with Rossiyskaya Gazeta published on Friday.
The money will go to finance space monitoring, installation of video cameras and thermal imagers, purchase of drones and hardware to fight the fires.
He said the country is “properly ready” for the forest fire season.
Zubkov said the strength of mobile fire-fighting units has tripled against last year and today 2500 firefighters may be urgently airlifted to emergency areas.