9 wildfires on over 2,000 hectares raging in Russia’s Far East

KHABAROVSK, August 6 (Itar-Tass) —— As many as nine wildfires are still raging on an area of 2,128 hectares in Russia’s Far East, a spokesman for the local forestry administration told Itar-Tass on Saturday.

“In Yakutia, forest fires are sweeping through an area of 1,596 hectares, and the forest fire areas in the Khabarovsk territory and Magadan region are 195 and 144 hectares, respectively,” the spokesman said. “Two small wildfires have not yet been extinguished in Chukotka. In the past twenty four hours, fire fighters put out ten wildfires but seven new fires broke out after a thunderstorm,”

According to the spokesman, the bulk of fires are located in remote taiga areas. Such fires are spotted with delay because of the lack of specialized aircraft.

In the mean time, Yakutia’s head Yegor Borisov said that “only regular monitoring from the air may help prevent wildfires in the republic, with a territory of more than three million square meters.” A total of 60 million roubles have been allocated from the federal budget in 2011 to sponsor air survey in Yakutia, although the republic needs 350 million roubles for these purposes. “As a result, intervals between flights are too long and hotbeds of fires are spotted only when fires have spread over vast territories,” Borisov said.

Since the beginning of this year’s fire season, a total of 1,651 wildfires have been registered in the Far East. Fire area has reached 527,700 hectares, including 399,400 hectares of forests. The republic of Yakutia has been hit by wildfires most severely. Here, a total of 435,900 hectares of lands have been destroyed.

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