Russia: Fires Strike 300 Hectares of Russia’s Taiga Forest
(Source: ITAR-TASS News Agency, 12 May 2001)
By Oksana Zapolskaya
More than three hundred hectares of the taiga forest are on fire in the Irkutsk region. A duty officer at the regional forest protection aviation base told Itar-Tass on Saturday that several large fires had sprung up in the last 24 hours alongside with eight small fires, which had been contained. The flame is raging on federal woodland areas of 50 and 100 hectares in the Cheremkhovsky district. This year’s largest forest fire has been registered in the Usolsky district on an area of 150 hectares, the duty officer said. Foresters are battling with these fires on their own so far, the duty officer went on to say. The fire hazard in the Irkutsk region is particularly high due to unfavourable weather conditions: in the last 24 hours temperatures have jumped to thirty degrees Centigrade above zero, and strong north-western winds are blowing at a speed of 15 metres per second.