Fires spread in Russian Far East

Aug. 9, 2012 at 12:19 PM

KHABAROVSK, Russia, Aug. 9 (UPI) -- Russian forestry authorities reported 27 separate fires burning Thursday in the taiga, or northern forests, of the Russian Far East.

Only three have been completely extinguished in the last 24 hours, they said.

"At least 747 people, 106 units of hardware and 12 aircraft are involved in fighting the fires," the Forestry department of the Far East Federal District said Thursday.

In Yakutia Territory, bordering the Arctic Ocean in northeast Siberia, 18 separate fires have been reported, burning 6,002 acres. Seven fires burn in Khabarovsk Territory, on the Pacific Ocean near the Chinese border, affecting 1,359 acres, and several "hot spots" were reported in Chukotka Territory, in northernmost Russia, the Russian news agency ITAR-Tass said.

The cause of the fires was not reported, but "since the beginning of the season" the Far East Federal District has counted 2,820 forest fires, the news agency said.

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