MOSCOW, Jan. 5 (UPI) -- Russia's energy minister wants to cut down 20,000 acres of forest near power lines to prevent Moscow blackouts.
"According to our calculations, around 8,000 hectares of woodland should be cut down just in the Moscow region to secure normal, blackout-free functioning of the power grid," Sergei Shmatko told RIA Novosti Wednesday.
The capital region was hit by huge blackouts Dec. 26 after an ice storm froze transmission lines. Broken trees disrupted power in whole districts.
More blackouts followed this week after heavy snowfall damaged more trees. Ten districts in the area with 14,800 residents were still without electricity late Tuesday, the Russian emergencies ministry said.