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Russia: Fires Destroying Forests, Threaten Villages In North


Moscow, 12 August 1997 (RFE/RL) - Officials say the worst fires in decades in northern Russia are sweeping through forests and threatening several villages. Itar Tass news agency yesterday cited regional officials in the Arkhangelsk region as saying the area of burning forests has increased almost five times in the past week to nearly 8,000 hectares.

The report said more than 1,000 people are helping fight the fires, but their efforts are hampered by a shortage of tractors, bulldozers and fuel for the machinery, as well as for fire-fighting aircraft.

In the Komi republic, Itar Tass says regional authorities have asked Moscow for help fighting the fires that have consumed about 10,000 hectares there.
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