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ULAN-UDE, April 28 (Itar-Tass) —— There are nine fires on 67 hectares in Transbaikalia now, and five outbreaks are localized, the regional government's Vice-Premier Yevgeny Vishnyakov told a press conference in Chita on Saturday.
The situation is kept under control at the cost of great forces and means. More than 250 people are fighting the fires with the use of almost 50 units of technical means, he said.
Other Vice-Premier Alexander Kholmogorov noted that it took the region 600 million roubles a year to maintain the system to prevent and extinguish fires, with most of the funds used to extinguish blazes.
Additional 20 million roubles have been already spent this year on fuel, lubricants, aircraft kerosene and rations for firemen. The money has "burned up", though it could be channeled into the social sphere, the official noted.
However, regional residents, despite the warnings, requests and fines, continue to burn dry grass and set fires that under the conditions of strong winds and dry weather turn into uncontrolled flame waves destroying everything on the way, he stressed.
A state of emergency has been in force in the Trans-Baikal Territory since late March. The population is barred from entering the taiga. During the period, 500 people and 38 vehicles were forced out of the forests. The offenders may face fines of up to 120,000 roubles and administrative and even criminal charges. Five criminal cases have been already opened.
Strict measures will be taken against violators. Impunity may result in grave consequences, Kholmogorov noted.
According to the official, the state of emergency most likely will remain in force till late May-early June.
The press service of the Emergencies Ministry's Siberian regional centre reported that the total area of wildfires in Siberia decreased five times over the past 24 hours.
On Friday, the blazes swept 1,927 hectares of forest and steppe areas in three districts, and this Saturday, there were 19 outbreaks on 367 hectares.
The press service said most fires were brought under control in the Trans-Baikal Territory. Firemen extinguished all the large conflagrations and localized smaller fires from 1,720 to 221.5 hectares there. Most of the outbreaks are localized.
In the Omsk Region, the burning area was reduced from 140 to 35 hectares, while the number of fires and the area increased in the Novosibirsk Region, where five outbreaks on 80 hectares are reported.
The republics of Buryatia and Tuva have joined the list of fire-hit regions. There are three outbreaks on a total of 30.5 hectares.
New outbreaks and enlargement of wildfire areas are possible all over the Siberian Federal District, except the northern regions, where temperatures remain below zero, and the snow cover has not melted.
Rescuers warn that wildfires may spread to residential areas, energy facilities, electro-transmission lines and other objects.