MOSCOW — The danger of fires has sharply increased in Russia due to dry and hot weather. The 2006 summer promises to be hotter than usual, Director of the Russian Hydrometeorology Centre Roman Vilfand told a press conference here on Friday.
The danger of peat-bogs catching fire is imminent, too he added. Vilfand also noted that there would be no cold summer this year anywhere in the world.
Russian Minister for Emergency Situations Sergei Shoigu called for measures to prevent the deterioration of the forest fires situation in Moscow Region.
In the course of a meeting at the Ministry for Emergency Situations, he noted that todays principal task is to prevent the situation from becoming critical, to preclude the fires in Moscow Region for spreading out to the peat-bogs. Head of the Chief Emergencies Department of Moscow Region Alexander Kats reported to the minister that there were no forest fires in Moscow Region so far. There are some fires on farm fields and on the peat litter on an area of 2.8 hectares. The most difficult situation is recorded in Orekhovo-Zuyevo, Shatura and Yegoryevsk districts of Moscow Region.
Incineration of dry grass and rubbish are the reasons for the majority of forest fires, officials of the Ministry for Emergency Situations believe.
Deputy Director of the Operations Department of the Russian Ministry for Emergency Situation Andrei Legoshin reported to the minister that the Antistikhiya (Anti-Calamity) Centre was predicting a further deterioration of the fire situation in most of the subjects of the central part of Russia.
The Kurgan Regional Government decided on Friday to prohibit all excursions into the forests and the lighting of bonfires there.
As many as 337 hectares of forest lands were burned in Kurgan Region since the beginning of the fire-hazard season, as well as several untenanted structures and one dwelling house. Spring burnings and careless handling of fire were among the main reasons of forest fires, firemen assert.
All excursions into the forests were prohibited as of Friday in Bryansk Region, too. Fifty-four fires on a total area of fifty-one hectares were recorded there during the opening days of May.
Fire brigades have been responding to urgent calls for help almost fifty times a day. Especially dangerous are fires within the Chernobyl Zone. In expert opinion, a fire increases the concentration of radioactive caesium in the air approximately 100-fold.
As many as 392 seats of fire on an area of approximately 1.3 thousand hectares were extinguished during the past twenty-four hours in the Volga-Urals Region. The total number of seats of fire has reached 464 and more than two thousand hectares of forests and farmlands are now ablaze.
There were seventy-two seats of fire on an area of almost 750 hectares by Friday morning. Sixty of them were localised. More than two thousand specialists from different agencies were mobilised to put out the fires. Six hundred and thirty-seven units of special machinery had to be used.
There are sixteen fires blazing now in the forests of Arkhangelsk Region. According to Yelizaveta Tsyvareva, a leading specialist of the Regional Department of the Ministry for Emergency Situations, all the seats of fires were localised. Forty-three specialists took part in the effort to extinguish them.