Eleven people have died trying to extinguish forest fires that have swept southern Siberian forests in recent days, an official said Tuesday.
Most of the fires, which have destroyed vast tracts of forest, are started by farmers burning last year’s grass, said Boris Denisov, a spokesman for Russia’s State Forestry Committee.
This year, the fires have been fanned by unseasonably high temperatures and dry weather. They have destroyed 1.5 million acres, mostly the thick forest known as taiga that stretches from the Ural Mountains to the Far East, the ITAR-Tass news agency reported Denisov as saying.
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