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© Valery Gacheev
Wildfires more rampant in Russia in 2011, spread over east
Russia reported 186 wildfires burning in forests and peat bogs on Sunday, covering an area more than three times the size of that for the same period last year.

"Overall, more than 12,100 wildfires have emerged in Russia since the beginning of the fire-hazardous season of 2011 on a total area of about 752,500 hectares as compared with 228,400 hectares last year," the Emergencies Ministry said.

In the past twenty-four hours, 186 new forest fires have emerged on an area of 16,700 hectares while 174 fires on an area of 13,800 hectares have been extinguished, the ministry said.

The worst hit areas are the Krasnoyarsk Territory and the Irkutsk region, the ministry said.

There are fears of a repeat of last year's disaster, when a massive drought and fires claimed 62 lives and devastated crops, which forced Russia last year to impose a ban on grains exports. The ban is expected to be lifted in July.