Russian wildfires since the start of the year have destroyed almost three times the forest and crop areas damaged a year earlier, when the country experienced its worst drought in half a century, the government said.
Wildfires have ravaged almost 635,568 hectares (1.57 million acres) of land since Jan. 1, up from about 216,374 hectares in the same period last year, the Emergency Ministry said on its website today. About 44,641 hectares of mostly forest area, including three fires in protected areas, are still burning, the ministry said.
Wildfires, many ignited by smoldering peat fields, scorched an area three times the size of Luxembourg, killed more than 50 people and burned hundreds of private homes last year.
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