MOSCOW (AP) — Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday urged authorities to take stronger action to prevent wildfires and increase coordination among various official agencies to deal with them.
Speaking in a video call with federal and regional officials, Putin stressed that the wildfires that hit Russia last year were the largest in years and asked local governors to report on measures taken to increase fire safety around the world. the country.
He noted that a series of forest fires has already spread across several regions.
“We cannot allow a repeat of last year’s situation,” Putin said. “We need to fight fires in a more efficient, systemic and consistent way.”
He reaffirmed the importance of forests in dealing with global warming and noted that “large-scale forest fires undermine our climate protection efforts.”
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“This issue is of paramount importance for our country and the entire world,” he said.
In recent years, Russia has recorded high temperatures that many scientists consider a clear result of climate change. Hot weather, coupled with neglect of fire safety regulations, has led to a growing number of wildfires that authorities say consumed more than 17 million hectares (42 million acres) last year in Russia.
Russian experts denounced the 2007 decision to dissolve a federal aviation network tasked with detecting and fighting fires and hand over its assets to regional authorities. The much-criticized transfer led to the rapid decline of the force.
The government later reversed the measure and re-established the federal agency in charge of monitoring forests from the air. However, their resources remain limited, making it difficult to survey the vast forests of Siberia and the Far East.
Authorities responded to last year’s fires by beefing up monitoring assets and rapid response forces. The Kremlin has ordered additional funds to fight the flames.
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