Russia:Forest Fires Sweep Huge Territories in Far East
(Source: ITAR-TASS News Agency, 15 May 2001)
By Boris Savelyev
Khabarovsk — Territory ablaze from forest fires in Russia’s far east Khabarovsk region has doubled in size in the past two days. Flames have spread to 6,588 hectares of taiga, fires fanned by strong winds and 30 degree Celsius air temperatures. They are being fought by some 450 experts from the forestry protection service and servicemen from army units in the region. Two worst-affected areas covering 3,000 and 1,700 hectares respectively are in the Verkhne-Bureinsky district. Extensive fires have also been reported in Solnechny and Komsomolsk. Teams with tractors, bulldozers, cross-country vehicles and fire-fighting machinery have been rushed in. Twelve aircraft and helicopters have been airlifting firemen and equipment to emergency areas. Fuel stations have been set up in many areas of the taiga but scarce supplies are expected to run out in two weeks.