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Some wildfires are out of control: says Russia emergency chief

08-04-2010 18:53 BJT Special Report:Forest Fires Ravage Russia |

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Russia's emergency chief says some of the wildfires sweeping western Russia are now out of control, as fears grew there are not enough firefighters to battle them. So far, the blazes have killed 50 people and destroyed nearly 2-thousand homes.

Officials from the Emergencies Ministry have said there were 246 fires burning on a total of 121,000 hectares as of Tuesday evening.

Zatyshye village, 58 kilometers east of Moscow, has been battling the advancing fire for the past six days.

Not a single house has been burnt, although the village of 250 houses is now surrounded by burning peat and birch woods.

Elena Kirllova, a villager, said, "They have extinguished fire over there, but here in the garden some patches of land under trees and bushes are burning again. The peat is burning underground so it is very difficult to stop this fire and it is very dangerous. I don't know if we will succeed or not."

"I am scared, of course I am scared. That is why we were battling the fire the best we can." Another villager Andrei said.

Tens of thousands of troops and volunteers are helping some 10-thousand firefighters battle the blazes in more than a dozen western Russian provinces, seven of which are in a state of emergency.

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has promised new housing before winter for those made homeless, as well as 67-hundred US dollars in compensation.

He also says he will personally supervise the reconstruction of fire-ravaged homes via video cameras to be installed at each construction site, and will broadcast the images to the government website.

Editor:Zheng Limin |Source: CNTV

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