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27,800 ha of taiga afire in Trans-Baikal Ter, while snow helps

April 20, 2012, 9:48 UTC+3

More than 1,400 people are fighting the blaze with the use of 270 units of technical means

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ULAN-UDE, April 20 (Itar-Tass) —— A total of 27,800 hectares of taiga are afire in the Trans-Baikal Territory, but there is no threat to residential areas, a source at the Russian Emergencies Ministry’s Trans-Baikal regional department told Itar-Tass on Friday.

Seventy nine forest fires on more than 31,300 hectares were reported in the region over the past day, and 29 fires on more than 3,500 hectares were extinguished by the end of the day.

Fifty fires are raging on about 27,800 hectares, and 14 of the outbreaks on 19,000 hectares are localized, the source said.

More than 1,400 people are fighting the blaze with the use of 270 units of technical means.

It began snowing in the region overnight, and it was expected to help put out the wave of steppe and forest fires hitting the region for a week.

The situation in the village of Vasilyevsky Khutor, where snow also fell, is returning to normal. The temperature went down to one-two degrees below zero, a source at the regional department for emergencies told Itar-Tass.

On Thursday, according to the regional administration’s information, eight buildings and the post office burned up in the village. One of the buildings is not residential. Four people were injured in the fire and when they fought the blaze -- a schoolboy, two adult women and a man. The child is hospitalized in the city of Krasnokamensk. The adults with burns are taken to a hospital in the village of Klichka. One of the people received burns at a shepherd station near the village, and the other three were injured in the village.

Out of the 313 local residents, 80, mainly old people, women and children, were evacuated from Vasilyevsky Khutor. Some of them are taken to their relatives' homes, and the rest to the village of Klichka, where they are accommodated in the school and hospital buildings. Food and necessities are provided for all the evacuated people.

The regional government will give 10,000 roubles in aid to each of the people who lost their homes in the village. The blaze left 21 people without homes there.

The Alexandrovsky Zavod district administration in addition will provide 50,000 roubles for each of the families, the regional government press service told Itar-Tass on Friday.

The construction of houses to replace the burned ones will begin in May, a press service official said.

The region's Governor Ravil Geniatulin is working at the site.

An inquiry is underway to establish what caused the fire -- carelessness or burning steppe grass.

The prompt mobilization of additional forces and means allowed bringing the blaze under control and preventing it from spreading to other houses, a regional administration official noted.

According to the regional authorities, the forest and steppe fire situation began to stabilize on Friday with the help of the precipitation. The territory's government hopes to gradually extinguish the fires in the next 24 hours. The situation remains tense in the Sretensk, Alexandrovsky Zavod and Kalga districts.


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