Monday, 2 August 2010
Wild Fires in Russia
"Despite complicated weather conditions, the situation is under control thanks to preventive measures and efforts taken by the Russian Emergencies Ministry," a spokesman for the ministry told the Itar-Tass news agency.
At least 28 people have been killed and thousands left homeless by the wildfires, which are among the worst ever to hit western Russia. No fire-related deaths were reported since Friday, officials said Sunday.
Two firefighters were among the dead, Itar-Tass reported, citing the Emergency Ministry.
Latest figures from the ministry showed that 128,500 hectares (317,530 acres) were burned or had burned, and 774 "hotbeds of wildfire" were counted as of 6 a.m. Sunday. About half the fires had either been extinguished or contained, the ministry spokesman said.
"The most difficult situation with wildfires remains in the Nizhny Novgorod, Vladimir and Voronezh regions and the Republic of Mordovia, where fires threaten several populated settlements," the ministry's information department said.
A hot, dry summer has been a key factor in the fires, drying out large parts of land and igniting the peat bogs that lie all over central Russia.
Moscow, Russia, hit a temperature of 39 Celsius (102 Fahrenheit) on Thursday, the highest temperature since records began in 1879.
Area 51-Fact or Fiction?
Area 51 is a military base, and a remote detachment of Edwards Air Force Base. It is located in the southern portion of Nevada in the western United States, 83 miles (133 km) north-northwest of downtown Las Vegas. Situated at its center, on the southern shore of Groom Lake, is a large secretive military airfield. The base's primary purpose is to support development and testing of experimental aircraft and weapons systems.
The base lies within the United States Air Force's vast Nevada Test and Training Range. Although the facilities at the range are managed by the 99th Air Base Wing at Nellis Air Force Base, the Groom facility appears to be run as an adjunct of the Air Force Flight Test Center (AFFTC) at Edwards Air Force Base in the Mojave Desert, around 186 miles (300 km) southwest of Groom, and as such the base is known as Air Force Flight Test Center (Detachment 3).
Though the name Area 51 is used in official CIA documentation, other names used for the facility include Dreamland, Paradise Ranch, Home Base, Watertown Strip, Groom Lake, and most recently Homey Airport. The area is part of the Nellis Military Operations Area, and the restricted airspace around the field is referred to as (R-4808N), known by the military pilots in the area as "The Box" or "the Container".
The intense secrecy surrounding the base, the very existence of which the U.S. government barely acknowledges, has made it the frequent subject of conspiracy theories and a central component to unidentified flying object (UFO) folklore.