8 June 2012Firefighters and rescuers in Russia's Far East extinguished 19 forest fires over the past 24 hours, but 31 more wildfires remain active in the region, a statement from the regional forestry department said on Friday.
Over 900 people, 130 units of specialized vehicles and 19 aircraft, including 11 helicopters, were involved in extinguishing the wildfires, which flared up in spring and covered an area of some 1,897 hectares over the past 24 hours, the department said in a statement.
The most critical situation remains in the Amur Region, where in the past day fires destroyed 444 hectares of forests.
The dry winter, the early onset of warm weather and strong winds, as well as the localsí habit of burning away old grass in the spring have resulted in an unusual amount of wildfires across the Far East and Siberia starting in early April.
In 2010, central Russia was blanketed by wildfires, which covered some 200,000 hectares of land and blanketed many cities, including Moscow, with acrid smog.