Firefighters Battle Over 20 Wildfires in Siberia

Firefighters are battling twenty-three forest fires in Siberia on a total area of 625 hectares, the regional emergencies center reported on Sunday.

By now, the firefighters have localized seven wildfires on an area of 572 hectares, including the largest forest fire in the Republic of Tyva in southern Siberia on an area of 200 hectares.

A total of 307 people and 46 units of special equipment are involved in the fire extinguishing effort, the center said.

The dry winter, the early onset of warm weather and strong winds, as well as the locals’ habit of burning away old grass in the spring have resulted in an unusual amount of wildfires across Siberia and the Far East starting last month.

In 2010, central Russia was blanketed by wildfires, which covered some 200,000 hectares of land and filled many cities, including Moscow, with acrid smog.


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