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Tide turns against Russian forest fires

May 11, 2013 at 11:40 AM   |   Comments

MOSCOW, May 11 (UPI) -- Russian forestry officials said Saturday they had gotten control over more than half of the 25 wildfires burning in the Far East region.

Nearly 500 firefighters have been working the series of fires but made good progress at the end of the week.

"Out of 25 forest fires, 15 have been put out, seven are active in the Republic of Sakha with one of them contained, and three others have been contained in the Khabarovsk Territory," the regional forestry department said in a written statement.

As of Friday, the fires had blackened nearly 13,000 hectares (50.2 square miles). The RIA Novosti news agency said a wave of wildfires in the same area in 2010 consumed 2.6 million hectares (10,038 square miles) of forest and a quarter of Russia's grain harvest.

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