Russia Today
More than 428 000 hectares of Siberian forest ravaged

MOSCOW, May 17, 2000 -- (AFP) Fire has ravaged more than 428,000 hectares (10,000 acres) of forest in Russia's far east. including Siberia, according to the national emergencies ministry.

Thousands of hectares of forest are being destroyed by the flames in the region each day, Itar-Tass quoted the ministry as saying.

The situation is particularly bad in eastern Siberia, in the IIrkutsk and Chita regions, where more than 50 fires have swept across 93,000 hectares.

The agency has also reported 13,000 hectares of forest ablaze near the border with Mongolia.

Some 3,600 people and 26 planes and helicopters have been mobilized to fight the inferno which has raged for weeks.

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