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ULAN-UDE, April 11 (Itar-Tass) — Twenty-eight forest fires at an area of 1,500 hectares were registered in the Trans-Baikal Territory of Russia on Tuesday. “So far, only 11 fires have been extinguished, 17 fires are still burning in nine districts of the region at an area of 890 hectares. Eight hot spots at an area of nearly 570 hectares have been located,” the Russian Emergency Situations Ministry’s (EMERCOM) main department for the Trans-Baikal Territory told Itar-Tass.
“Among the localised fires is a major fire in the Uletovsky district where the fire swept 350 hectares of forest. Another major fire is still spreading in the Shilkinsky district affecting an area of 250 hectares. More than 170 people and 45 pieces of equipment are involved in the fire fighting operation,” the EMERCOM department said.
As many as 132 forest fires that damaged or destroyed more than 6,800 hectares of taiga have been recorded in the Trans-Baikal Territory since the beginning of the fire hazard season. “The number of fires and the area they affect this year more than two times exceed last year’s figures as of the same date,” the EMERCOM stressed.
A state of emergency is in effect in the Trans-Baikal Territory since March 26 because of the threat of taiga fires. Any economic activity in the region’s forests, hunting and visiting them is prohibited. Police officers and officials of municipalities are on duty at the entrance to forests.