By Ria Novosti
Firefighters and rescuers extinguished 22 forest fires and managed to contain 15 more in Russia’s Far East over the past 24 hours, a statement from the regional forestry department said on Friday.
Almost 600 people, 97 units of specialized vehicles and 11 aircraft, including eight helicopters, are involved in extinguishing wildfires, which remain raging in the region and covered an area of some 1,150 hectares over the past 24 hours, the department said in a statement.
The most critical situation is in the Khabarovsk Territory, where fires destroyed 687 hectares of forests in the past day.
The dry winter, the early onset of warm weather and strong winds, as well as the locals’ habit of burning away old grass in the spring have resulted in an unusual amount of wildfires across Siberia and the Far East starting last month.
In 2010, central Russia was blanketed by wildfires, which covered some 200,000 hectares of land and filled many cities, including Moscow, with acrid smog.