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Russia has three-fold hike in forest fires

May 29, 2006 at 4:36 PM

MOSCOW, May 29 (UPI) -- Russian environmental officials say 13,120 forest fires have broken out so far this year -- 3.2 times as any as in the same period last year.

The report said 760,000 acres of forest have been lost -- 6.9 percent more than one year ago, Itar-Tass reported Monday.

Officials said about 225 fires are currently burning, mostly in Siberia and far the eastern part of Russia. No populated areas are at risk, and access to some forests has been banned in some places, the news agency said.

The report said 70 percent of fires reported are extinguished within one day -- a 13 percent improvement over last year.

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