417 forest fires are raging in Russia, 103 of them started yesterday. Fire has covered 11,154 hectares. The total of 8,659 forest fires have been registered since the beginning of the dangerous fire season after melting of snow. Fire has destroyed 159,907 hectares of forest and covered about 100,000 hectares of non-forest terrain. The number of fire hotbeds has increased 4-fold and the area destroyed by fire 20-fold, compared with the same period last year. These figures were given to RIA Novosti by Vladimir Schetinsky, deputy chief of the Central base for air guarding of forests, who had arrived in Khabarovsk from Moscow. He pointed out that the most alarming situations are arising in the Far East and in Western Siberia, in particular, in the forests of the Khabarovsk region and the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia). "Here I learned about the lack of technical resources and people for combating fire", Schetinsky said. Now the authorities are trying to find ways of helping the region, using the resources of the country's other regions. "The main objective is to stop the spreading of fire". Yesterday 84 fires were extinguished, but only the rain will be able to put out fires in the mountainous areas near the port of Vanino and the town of Sovetskaya Gavan that are difficult to access, he added.
The choice of the city of Helsinki is not incidental as the capital of Finland had hosted US-Soviet negotiations on the limitation of nuclear stockpiles in 1969