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Forest Fires Spread in Russian Far East

BBCMonitoring International Reports, 12 May 2002

Khabarovsk — Over 30,000 ha of forests and steppes are ablaze in the Russian Far East. The area has registered 86 new seats of fire, including 42 in Khabarovsk Territory, over the past 24 hours. According to information from the regional centre of the Emergencies Ministry, the total territory under fire doubled on Saturday 11 May.
Amur Region recorded 35 seats of fire. Large fires alone engulfed there more than 22,500 ha of forest.
More than 3,000 hectares of forests are in flames in Khabarovsk Territory. Specialists appraise the situation there as the most difficult, since 48 towns and village with a population of 43,000 are located close to the zones of fire. Villages of Khurba, Snezhnyy, Ust-Urgal and other taiga villages are situated 2-4 km away from the edge of fires.
Administrations of several districts intend to impose a state of emergency over the next few days in connection with the rising fire danger.
In a later report, ITAR-TASS said that over half of the forest fires in the west of Irkutsk Region had been extinguished. Several hundred fire-fighters have put out 31 seats of fire over the past 24 hours, while a sharp drop in temperature and brief showers prevented any new fires.


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