Russia keeps wildfire situation under control

MOSCOW, August 2 (Itar-Tass) — Russia’s First Deputy Prime Minister Viktor Zubkov said on Tuesday the wildfire situation in Russia in general remains under control.

“From the beginning of 2011 until now a total of 16,800 wildfires were registered, down by 25 percent as against last year,” he told a meeting in the Emergencies Ministry on Tuesday.

The survey demonstrated that almost 77 percent of all wildfires occur on the territory of five Russian regions – Yakutia, the Baikal and Krasnoyarsk territories, the Irkutsk region and Buryatia.

“The main reason for these wildfires is human factor, careless handling of fire, insufficient numbers of fire-fighting equipment and poor fire-fighting management,” he said underling that “regions should first of all take efforts to eliminate these reasons.”

Under the effective legislation, Russian regions, except for the Moscow region, are responsible for protection of forests against fire. In the Moscow region the federal forestry agency Rosleskhoz fulfils these functions.

Moreover, Zubkov also underlined that insufficient measures are taken to protect natural reserves and national parks from fires.

“This year 253 fires have already been reported on the territory of 59 of the 140 natural reserves in Russia. The fires spread over 65,000 hectares,” he said noting that last year Denezhkin Kamen national park strongly suffered from devastating fires and this year fires were registered at Meshchera national park.

The first deputy prime minister noted that this year the government approved the plan for interregional cooperation that is being successfully implemented. Under this plan Yakutia, the Arkhangelsk and Irkutsk regions received practical assistance.

The government allocated almost 21 billion roubles from the federal budget for fire-fighting measures.

“Regions have already received 15.7 billion roubles – 100 percent of the plan for the first six months. It is necessary for all regions to make use of the funds to buy equipment and train personnel,” Zubkov said.

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