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Over 100,000 hectares of forests on fire in Siberia

April 20, 2015, 9:50 UTC+3 NOVOSIBIRSK
The total area of wildfires has reduced by 17,000 hectares
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© Amur Region Branch of Russia's Ministry of Emergency Situations/TASS

NOVOSIBIRSK, April 20. /TASS/. The total area of wildfires in Russia’s Siberia is down by 17,000 hectares to 102,000 hectares, with almost all the fires registered in the Trans-Baikal Territory, the press service of the forestry department in the Siberian federal district said on Monday.

As of Monday morning, a total of 31 forest fires were registered in the region on the area of 101,000 hectares. The territories of Buryatia, Tyva, Khakassia, the Irkutsk Region and the Krasnoyarsk Territory are still engulfed by wildfires.

The fires were started when local farmers began burning dry grass and spread quickly due to strong winds. A total of 969 wildfires have been registered on the area of 336,300 hectares since the start of the 2015 fire season.

The fire-fighting operations involve some 15 aircraft and more than 80 helicopters of the Russian Defence Ministry.

The forests have been on fire in Siberia since March. The fires have destroyed over 1,500 buildings in 56 settlements, and killed 30 people.

Last week, a bill was submitted to the Russian parliament proposing a ban on burning dry grass and a fine of up to $5,000.

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