Forest Fires Keep Spreading in Tuva

1 May 2007

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The number of forest fires in Tuva enlarged from 18 to 22 over the day and spread onto the area of 6,500 hectares, including 2,700 hectares covered with trees, commander of the Tuva forestry air wing Valery Leskov told Itar-Tass on Sunday. He said a wind exceeding 20 meters per second is fanning the fire.

The largest fire spots of about 5,500 hectares have been registered in the Kaa-Kem district. That area has a fire emergency.

One hundred and sixteen foresters, 29 paratroopers and 103 local volunteers are taking part in the fire fighting effort. They are using about 30 pieces of machinery. Two Antonov An-2 airplanes have been attached to the fire-fighting team. One of them has arrived in Kyzyl, while the other will come on May 2.

The dry and blustery weather and the human factor have been blamed for the disaster. Tuva has had 36 forest fires since early April, and about 7,000 hectares of woodland have been damaged. The situation was much better last year, as only 27 fires occurred by May 15 on the area of 963 hectares.

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