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Premier warns governors about responsibility for wildfire situation

The number of forest fires has reached 500 since the beginning of this year, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev warns

MOSCOW, April 02. /ITAR-TASS/. Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has noted difficulties in the country's fire safety situation at present warning governors that they are responsible for taking timely measures to combat possible floods and wildfires.

The number of forest fires has reached 500 since the beginning of this year, Medvedev said at a conference on Tuesday which addressed measures to prepare for flood- and fire-related contingencies.

"The fire-warning and extinguishing system has been prepared on the whole, but this preparedness should be brought to the highest level," he said noting that more than 7.000 settlements are found in the fire hazard zone at present.

"As for flood preparedness, there would be 4.500 settlements in the possible flood zone. In April, floods are expected in the European part of Russia and southern portion of its Asian territory, while in April and May, the risk zone will shift to the Asian part and Russia's Far East.

Much of the renovation of engineering structures has been completed, Medvedev said urging to pay attention to regulating the operation of large water reservoirs which are always risk-prone.

Also, the premier called for building stocks at temporary accommodation centers and securing public awareness.

"Only personal responsibility of regional leaders will ensure the consolidation of efforts and conscientious fulfillment of tasks, though federal executive bodies also bear certain responsibility," he went on.

Medvedev reminded that "the weather in the country never lets us relax: in the recent years, we've encountered such unprecedented disasters in terms of scale as fires in 2010, the flood in Krymsk in 2012 and the devastating flood in the Far East last year whose aftermath is still being eliminated."

"This experience should be taken into account in the operation of the state system of warning and elimination of emergencies; we have to be ready for any scenarios of the development of events to the best of our abilities and opportunities," because not all contingencies can be immediately resisted, the prime minister said.