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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Fires Threaten Towns

MOSCOW -- Forest fires that have been raging across the Far East for weeks are getting close to towns in the region, Itar-Tass reported Friday.

Some major fires are within 15 kilometers of small towns on the Kamchatka Peninsula and in the Khabarovsk region, the news agency said.

Less than two kilometers separates the Trudovoye settlement on Sakhalin Island from one burning forest.

The fires, which have engulfed more than 70,000 hectares across the region so far, have sent up plumes of smoke which keep firefighting planes and helicopters grounded. Almost 1,500 people are now fighting the blazes, Itar-Tass said.