Forests Continue Blazing In Yakutia, Khabarovsk Territory
ITAR-TASS, June 7, 2002
By Boris Savelyev Khabarovsk — Forest fires continued blazing in the Far East of Russia Friday,with the largest acreage affected in the constituent republic of Yakutia. The territorial branch of the Russian Emergency Situations Ministry said 56spots of taiga fires had been registered there. They covered the area of morethan 56,000 hectares. The situation had largely improved in the Khabarovsk territory and the Amurregion, said emergency officials. Experts of the Far-Eastern natural resources department said the fires had donethe biggest damage to the taiga in the Khabarovsk territory. A total of 487fires affected over 93,000 hectares of forest and 40,000 hectares of other areasthere in May. Rains helped extinguish the largest fires that people were unable to cope with.Expert analysis showed that firefighters managed to localize three blazes infour within a period of 24 hours. But despite their best efforts, forestprotection services had neither human nor material resources to organize betterperformance. Alexande Lyubiakin, chief of the Far-Eastern air base of forest protectionforces, said the territory of the Far-Eastern region had a very sparse networkof forestry control stations and air patrolling was the only way of maintainingcontrol over the 80 percent of the forest areas here. He complained, however, that the air patrol detachment had scanty financing andmaterial resources. His base was supposed to get 150 million rubles annually,but it actually received a half of that money, and typically after long periods of delay. In dozens of instances, the pilots managed to detect spots of fire two or threedays after the forest had gone ablaze, Lyubiakin said.