Dozens of forest fires blaze in Russia: officials

22nd September 2010, Comments 0 comments

Dozens of forest fires raged in Russia on Wednesday in fresh outbreaks following the country's exhausting battle with wildfires this summer, officials said.

Sixty-five separate fires were blazing across 364 hectares (900 acres) of land on Wednesday, the emergencies ministry said in a statement, with six of the fires smouldering in peat bogs.

"There are no large fires," the ministry said.

A ministry spokeswoman told AFP that fires were now registered in three regions, Irkutsk in Siberia, the Volga region of Ulyanovsk and the Urals region of Sverdlovsk.

The fresh fires come after Russia this summer battled thousands of blazes, some dangerously close to its top nuclear research centre in Sarov in central Russia.

Forest fires ravaged more than a million hectares in Russia in recent months, destroying whole villages and leaving more than 50 people dead, according to official tallies.

Smoke from peat bogs in the regions around Moscow clouded the capital in acrid smog in August. The peat bogs were artificially dried out in the early Soviet era when the peat was used for power generation.

© 2010 AFP

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