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About 23,500 ha of forests afire in Siberia

May 14, 2012, 10:43 UTC+3

In Buryatia, 13 fire outbreaks, including three large conflagrations, swept 2,864 hectares

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KRASNOYARSK, May 14 (Itar-Tass) — The total area of fires decreased in the Siberian taiga last weekend thanks to the work of forest fire-fighters in the Trans-Baikal Territory, the press service of the Russian Emergencies Ministry's Siberian regional centre told Itar-Tass.

There were 72 fires on 23,496 hectares in the Siberian Federal District's regions on Monday morning, but the number of "burning" regions has increased. Fires broke out in forests of eight regions as warm and dry weather set in.

The most complicated situation, as before, is in the Trans-Baikal Territory, where ten, including seven large, fires are raging on 20,105 hectares.

In Buryatia, 13 fire outbreaks, including three large conflagrations, swept 2,864 hectares.

Thirty nine fires are raging on areas from 117 to 181 hectares in the Krasnoyarsk Territory and the Irkutsk and Tomsk regions. Ten fires on less than 10 hectares are reported in the Novosibirsk Region and the Altai and Tuva republics.

A total of 2,507 people are mobilized to fight the blaze and do preventive work, and 422 machines are used in the operations.

Meteorologists forecast the highest fifth fire hazard class for the Altai Territory's forests and the fourth class for the Kemerovo and the Novosibirsk regions and the republics of Buryatia, Alta and Tuva.

Fires may spread to residential areas, electro-transmission lines and other facilities in the regions, the Siberian emergency centre warns.

The Emergencies Ministry's main department in the Trans-Baikal Territory told Itar-Tass on Monday that no new forest fire outbreaks were reported in the region over the past 24 hours.

The precipitation helped to stabilize the situation. The work is continuing to put out the remaining fires, a source at the department said.

Twelve fires on 33,600 hectares were extinguished. However, the remaining ten blazes are large. They are raging on more than 20,000 hectares. Seven of them are localized, but three large forest fires on 6,600 hectares are continuing to spread, the source said.

In the region, 320 people are fighting the blaze with 24 machines.

Since the beginning of this spring, 703 wildfires on almost 340,000 hectares have been reported in the Trans-Baikal Territory. The areas are almost twice as large as in last year's same period.

In the Far East Federal District, 18 forest fires were reported in six regions on Monday, the district's Forestry Department told Itar-Tass.

There are seven outbreaks in the Khabarovsk Territory and six in the Amur region. Forests are also afire in Primorye, Yakutia, on Sakhalin and in the Jewish Autonomous Region.

In the warm weather, when the daytime temperatures rise to 25-27 degrees Centigrade, the number of fires increases and burnings areas enlarge. The blaze swept 904 hectares of forests over the past day.

A total of 792 people are mobilized to fight the fires. They use 78 ground machines and 15 aircraft.

The fire-fighters have extinguished more than 30 forest fires over the past 24 hours.

Since the beginning of the season, there have been 642 blaze outbreaks on 14,775 hectares in the Far East forests.

The region has tightened up measures against safety rules violators. Five criminal cases have been opened over the fires in the villages of Frolovka, Limannoye, Borispol and Cheremkhovo, which were caused by uncontrolled burning of dry grass near the residential areas. A total of 147 cases of administrative offences are reported in connection with violations of the safety regulations when the special fire prevention regime is imposed. Materials of other 30 cases over forest fires are referred to the law-enforcement authorities, the Amur regional press service said on Monday. 

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