Source Pravda.Ru

16,000 forest fires registered in Russia in 2003

Officers of the Russian State Forest Service extinguished 78 forest fires only yesterday. All in all, Russia's forests are hit by 380 fires today. The country has seen 15,900 forest fires on the total area of 1.4 million hectares since the beginning of the forest fire season, the Russian Ministry of Natural Resources told RIA Novosti.

81 per cent of the total fire area falls on the Siberian Federal District. According to experts, the low level of water in Siberian rivers made the soil dry and caused forest fires.

According to the data of the ministry, this territory has not seen such fires for 108 years. In Buryatia, Chita and Irkutsk regions the number of fires exceeds average figures by 3-5 times.

In dry weather people should be particularly careful in the forest, however, many people don't follow this rule, unfortunately. Officers of the Russian State Forest Service discovered about 4,000 violators of fire safety rules since the beginning of the season.