MOSCOW, May 19. /TASS/. Over 5,000 forest fires have been recorded in Russia since the beginning of the year, Federal Forestry Agency Chief Sergei Anopriyenko said during an online hearing of the State Duma (the lower house of parliament), which was dedicated to the forest fire situation.
"A little more than 5,000 forest fires have occurred in the country since the beginning of the year. The blazes have scorched 770,000 hectares compared to 923,000 hectares in 2019," Anopriyenko pointed out.
According to him, a spike in forest fires was seen in late March and early April. "There are two reasons: an unusual heat wave in some of the Siberian regions and self-isolation," the official explained.
Efforts to upgrade firefighting equipment made it possible to reduce the average scope of forest fires by nearly 50 hectares, he went on to say. "We can see that the average scope of forest fires has been brought down to 150 hectares from nearly 200 hectares last year," Anopriyenko noted.