7 Aug 2020 15:58

Wildfires raged across over 5 mln hectares of forests in Russia in 2020 - agency

MOSCOW. Aug 7 (Interfax) - Russia saw wildfires on 5.2 million hectares of forest from January to July 2020, the press service for the Federal Agency for Forestry (Rosleskhoz) said in a statement on Friday.

"According to Rosleskhoz's information, 11,000 forest fires were registered in forested areas in the first seven months of the year, and the overall wildfire area amounted to 5.2 million hectares," the statement said.

The press service quoted Deputy Prime Minister Victoria Abramchenko as saying that the wildfire situation has been improving in regions with traditional wildfire problems. For instance, the scope of forest fires in Siberia was approximately 84% (2.3 million hectares) less than last year.

As of late July, wildfires have occurred on 448,000 hectares in Siberia. Compared to the previous year, the deputy prime minister noted progress in wildfire fighting in the Krasnoyarsk Territory (an 84% improvement) and the Irkutsk region (89%), which had the most difficult wildfire situation in 2019. Some regions of the Far East, which had the worst wildfire rates both in 2019 and 2020, also demonstrated positive dynamics.

According to Rosleskhoz, wildfire areas shrank year-on-year by 63% and 85%, respectively in Buryatia and the Primorye Territory. As for regions worst affected by wildfires in 2019, the decline amounted to 45% in the Amur region, 8% in the Trans-Baikal Territory, 30.4% in the Khabarovsk Territory, and 58% in the Jewish Autonomous Region.

The top ten regions experiencing the biggest wildfire problems this year include Yakutia, the Magadan region, and the Chukchi Autonomous District, Abramchenko said.