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Wildfires spreading in Siberia

May 03, 2007

KHABAROVSK, Russia, May 3 (UPI) -- About 30 square miles of taiga burned Thursday in the Amur region of Russian Siberia.
Officials in the Emergency Situations Ministry told Itar-Tass that the area affected by fires quintupled in one day. But they said so far the fires had not threatened inhabited areas, pipelines or roads. At least 25 fires had been reported Thursday.
Fires in the taiga -- the coniferous evergreen forests of Siberia -- have become increasingly large and frequent in recent years. While fires are a normal part of the forest's life cycle, scientists have been concerned about the extent that climate change or human exploitation of the forest could be contributing to the increase.
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