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18 August 2020, 19:16

Nearly 1,000 forest fires registered in Belarus so far this year

MINSK, 18 August (BelTA) – Nearly 1,000 forest fires have happened in Belarus since the beginning of the year, BelTA learned from Aleksei Boiko, a consultant with the Forest Management Office of the Belarusian Forestry Ministry.

As of 17 August there had been 986 forest fires with their total area as large as 6.575 million hectares. Most of the fires happened in Brest Oblast (347 fires on an area of 2.3 million hectares) and Gomel Oblast (263 fires on an area of 3.5 million hectares).

This year's situation with forest fires in Belarus has been determined by unusual weather in spring. Sunny weather, gusty winds, the willingness of Belarusians to set old dry grass on fire as a spring cleanup measure, failures to observe fire safety requirements resulted in forestry enterprises having to deal with forest fires as early as mid-March. The first fire in a forest run by the Forestry Ministry was registered on 15 March. It is worth noting that spring fires, fires in April to be exact, accounted for 90% of the entire area of forest fires.

The situation has been stabilized since then. To prevent forest fires, preserve Belarusian forests, and take care of people's safety when they visit forests, municipal authorities promptly introduce restrictions and prohibitions on visiting forests after receiving fire hazard warnings from the national weather service.

This year Forestry Ministry enterprises have built a total of 74,000km of dozer lines, 49.5km of new firebreaks, and have repaired over 1,500km of fire trails. Over 4,000 inspections have been arranged, with 565 people now facing administrative charges.

Over 660 lookout towers are used to detect forest fires early. Of them 623 towers are equipped with video surveillance systems. The introduction of an automated remote system for detecting forest fires early continues.

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