Russia — One hundred and five forest fires, covering an area of almost 3,000 hectares, were spotted in four Russian regions, officials of the Information Department of the Russian Ministry for Emergency Situations told Itar-Tass on Monday.
Forty-one more fires were added to this number last night, increasing the total area by 271.7 hectares. At present, there are 105 seats of forest fires in the Far Eastern, Siberian, Volga-Urals and Central federal districts. Their total area is approximately 3,000 hectares, the officials said. There are big seats of fire in the Primorye Territory and in the Amur Region.
A state of emergency was had to be clamped down on the Akshinsk and Chita districts of the Trans-Baikal Territory, they added.
Almost 3,000 men, 742 fire engines, and two aircraft were mobilised to fight the fires. The planes are being used for reconnaissance purposes. Ministry officials note that the forest fires are of no major danger for any inhabited localities, oil and gas pipelines, installations that are potentially dangerous for the economy, etc.
As many as 1,418 seats of forest fires, blazing on a territory of more than 43,000 hectares, were recorded in Russia since the beginning of the fire hazards period of 2008.
The first peat fires were spotted in the environments of Moscow. Officials of the Moscow Regional Department of the Russian Ministry for Emergency Situations told Itar-Tass that there was a peat fire burning in the Yegoryevsk district on Sunday, where such fires are known to be most frequent. It was promptly put out.
All in all, there were seven forest and peat fires in Moscow region since the beginning of the current fire hazards period. They had blazed on a territory of 0.62 hectares. The peak of fires in the Moscow Region, ministry officials said, is expected to occur in August. Only dry grass is so far catching fire in the environments of Moscow.
A third of more than 150 villages and other inhabited localities of the Republic of Buryatia, which are located near the zone of probable forest and peat fires, are not fully prepared to combat them, Itar-Tass reports from the republic.
According to the Republican Chief Department of the Ministry for Emergency Situations, 46 such inhabited localities are not protected from fire by mineralised belts and 19 others lack water supply. However, 47 villages have no voluntary fire brigades and ten others do not even have any telephones. The total population of the fire hazards zones tops 200,000, accounting for one-fifth of the republics population.
Forest fires in Buryatia were very early this year. There are now eleven seats of fire in the Buryat Taiga, blazing on a territory of almost 160 hectares. Seventeen forest fires were put out in the course of the past 24 hours on an area of more than 285 hectares.
Seven forest fires were recorded in the Altai Territory during the past 24 hours. The Territorial Forestry Department reports that the territory on fire now adds up to 23.09 hectares.
All in all, 125 people and 24 fire engines are being used to put them out. Sixteen forest fires on an area of 48.2 hectares were put out in the Altai Territory since the beginning of the fire hazards season.
Twelve fires were caused by the burning of farm wastes, four were due to the carelessness of the local population or some other undetermined reasons. Space monitoring systems have spotted more than 1,000 thermically active areas in Altai Territory last week, the Territorial Department of the Ministry of Emergency Situations reports.
Eight private houses have burned out in Maly Erlgel, a village in Amur Region. Some dry hay had caught fire in the village last Sunday and the flames spread out very quickly due to windy weather, incinerating the said private houses, local law enforcement officials told Itar-Tass.
Work is now under way to establish the damage, caused by the fire, and to find the guilty. Inspectors of the Fire Inspection Department of the Russian Ministry for Emergency Situations and a team of Investigators are now working on the spot of the disaster. Officials of the Ministry for Emergency Situations note that 90% of such cases are due to human negligence.