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Forest fires cover twice as large an area this year than in 2010 - Rosleskhoz

File Photo of Forest Fire in Russia
file photo
MOSCOW. July 18 (Interfax) - Forest fires are a serious but controllable problem in Russia, even though fires have spread this summer over an area twice as vast as last year, said deputy head of the federal forestry agency Rosleskhoz Nikolai Krotov.

Two hundred and twenty-four fires are raging in Russia now. The situation is particularly serious in Arkhangelsk region and Yakutia, he said at a press conference on Monday. Fifty-two fires are burning in Arkhangelsk region, many of them near largely populated areas. A fire was raging a few days ago one kilometer from the central airport in Arkhangelsk, he added.

Flames have spread over an area of 265 hectares in the past 24 hours, at a slower pace than last week (1,500 - 2,000 hectares daily). The weather forecast is disappointing for the coming days and the risk of fires breaking out will only increase, Krotov said.

The area in Yakutia enveloped in flames is growing, with 24 forests fires burning, including eight that have broken out over the past 24 hours, which increased the fire-stricken zone by 15,000 hectares, he said.

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