31 Jul 2019 11:25

Forest fires raging on nearly 3 mln hectares in Russia

MOSCOW. July 31 (Interfax) - About 150 forest fires are being extinguished in Russia, and over 300 wildfires more are not being fought on the orders from regional emergency situations commissions due to their remoteness.

The total wildfire area has neared 3 million hectares.

"Thirty-two forest fires were put out on 4,585 hectares in Russia over the day. As of 12:00 a.m. Moscow time on July 31, Russia saw 147 forest fires burning on 107,123 hectares. Those fires are being actively fought," the Avialesokhrana federal enterprise said in a statement on its website on Wednesday.

Most fires have been reported from the Irkutsk region, where 59 forest fires are being extinguished on 78,226 hectares. The Krasnoyarsk Territory is fighting 47 fires on 21,963 hectares, and 24 fires are raging on 1,403 hectares in Yakutia.

There are also five fires burning on 1,712 hectares in the Zapovednoye Pribaikalye nature conservancy area and the Vitim Nature Reserve in the Irkutsk region.

A total of 2,720 men and 390 vehicles are involved in putting out the fires. Thirty-four aircrafts are providing aerial monitoring, and 28 are fighting fires.

According to Avialesokhrana, as of midnight Moscow time remote forested areas of Russia saw "321 fires constantly monitored by firefighting services and via satellite on 2,882,527 hectares. Fighting of those fires stopped on the orders from regional emergency situations and fire safety commissions."

A majority of such fires were seen in Yakutia (115 fires on 1,144,873 hectares), the Krasnoyarsk Territory (62 fires on 1,041,739 hectares), and the Irkutsk region (76 fires on 628,977 hectares).

"These fires pose no threat to populated localities and economic facilities, and the estimated cost of their extinguishing will exceed the possible damage," Avialesokhrana said.

Considering the high wildfire rate in a number of Russian regions, Natural Resources and Ecology Minister Dmitry Kobylkin departed for the Krasnoyarsk Territory on Wednesday. Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev was briefed on the wildfire situation by Kobylkin and Emergency Situations Minister Yevgeny Zinichev at his meeting with deputy prime ministers on Tuesday. Medvedev ordered Kobylkin to personally inspect the affected areas and said the issue would be discussed again.

Deputies of the emergency situations minister have been working in the Krasnoyarsk and Transbaikal territories and the Irkutsk region since Tuesday.