About 400 forest fires registered in Russia so far this year - watchdog
Almost 400 forest fires have been registered in Russia since the beginning of 2014, deputy head of the Russian Federal Forestry Agency Andrei Zhilin said on Monday, responding to a question posed by Interfax.
"In all, we have registered 398 forest fires since the start of this year, the fires passed through about 31,000 hectares, including 23,000 hectares of the public forest fund. To date, 51 forest fires are active on a total area of 6,000 hectares," he said.
Most forest fires have been registered in the Baikal Territory, Zhilin said. Concerns are also raised about the Primorsky Territory, he said.
"Most fires in the Primorsky Territory have been put out. Currently, there are just three, over around 30 hectares. All of them have been contained," Zhilin said.
Human factors are the main cause of forest fires, he said.
"Essentially, all the fires are cases of arson, the unauthorized burning of grass for agricultural, personal and other needs. In the Primorsky Territory, for instance, they burn flood plains to make ferns grow faster and then sell them," Zhilin said.