Russia: LargeForest Conflagration Localized in C Eur Russia
27 July 2002
Ioshkar-Ola Forests in the Mari-El republic, Central European Russia, wereburning on Friday in a conflagration that was the largest in 30 years.Accordingto the reports as of Saturday morning, the fire was localized. The conflagrationcan be compared with that of 1972, when the damage from the blaze wasunprecedented.
Thefire broke out at several areas at once near the village of Surok located notfar from a military base and health centres for children.
Militaryand civilian firemen, Emergencies Ministry teams, aircraft and local residentstogether fought the blaze.Theflame on the tops of trees and the wind rapidly spread the conflagration toneighbouring forests. Specialistssaid the situation was very serious. Mari-ElPresident Leonid Markelov returned form the “fire front line” late on26 July 2002. He personally gave orders during the fight. Atank with petrol was found at one of the sites, and according to the president,one could suppose that it was arson.
Becauseof such acts, the republic has to spend large sums from its budget. The financesare needed to save houses (the blaze came close to the village of Silikatny),children’s health centres and evacuate people from there, the president said.Theperimeter of the burning area was about 20 kilometres. Morethan 250 servicemen have been mobilised to fight the blaze.
Thepresident ordered to promptly send special equipment, tractors, bulldozers anddigging machines there.