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All forest fires out in Siberia - but risk remains

By 0 and 0 and 0
23 August 2012


The fires have gone... Trans-Baikal region of SIberia. Picture: Alexander Lesnyanskiy

An emergency regime still exists in Tomsk where there is a 'high risk' of new outbreaks due to the lack of rainfall. 

Greenpeace and other environmental groups accuse the authorities of massively underreporting the scale of damage to forests in several months of fires across Siberia and the Far East. 

The smoke was so strong it swirled into the jet stream and was carried to the west coast of North America. 

It also hampered shipping on Siberia's great rivers and clogged the atmosphere in a number of cities, notably Tomsk and Krasnoyarsk.

Animal habitats have been so badly destroyed that it could be three decades before some are replaced. 

But the fires - which also burned in the Russian Far East - did not damage settlements, and many were extremely remote. 

The Defence and Protection-2102 exhibition underway in Sverdlovsk region shows 30-plus new types of Russian firefighting and rescue equipment, some of which could be used to extinguish future fires. 

The latest Zastava drone, for example, can fly on command from the ground and operate autonomously under temperatures ranging to 35C at up to 95km an hour.

The firefighting module 'Spas' has a cube-shaped tank for water and a power pump with pressure hoses. Firefighters this summer complained about a lack of modern equipment in countering the blazes over many areas. 

The drought has led to 'colossal losses' for Siberian farmers. Estimates suggest the grain yield could be down by as much as half in some regions, and a third in others. 

Officials are now working to prevent a steep hike in prices.

'Our key task is to support the stability of prices. It is impossible to allow sharp jumps of prices,' said  Presidential Envoy to the Siberian Federal District, Viktor Tolokonsky.

Comments (1)

poor cranes
Yana, St Pete Russia
24/08/2012 02:29

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