The Russian government has banned the burning of dry farmland and fields adjacent to roads and infrastructure in an effort to reduce the risk of hugely destructive wildfires. (Representational Image)
The Russian government said today it had banned the burning of dry farmland and fields adjacent to roads and infrastructure in an effort to reduce the risk of hugely destructive wildfires.
The measures which expands an earlier ban of stubble burning apply to the burning of dry land located on farms, near roads, railways and pipelines.
Earlier this year, huge wildfires engulfed the forested areas on the banks of Siberia's Lake Baikal, jeopardising the unique wildlife and vegetation of the world's oldest and deepest lake.
And in April, at least 34 people died in southern Siberia as a result of wildfires, apparently caused by the careless burning of farmland. Hundreds more were left homeless.
The ban also outlaws the use of open flame in these areas and requires that dry flammable vegetation be removed.
"This will help ensure (the) safety of inhabited areas, infrastructure and forests," the government said in a statement.
Farmers in Russia often burn stubble in fields to promote crop growth, but uncontrolled burning of agricultural land has become a common cause of forest fires.
There are more than 18,000 forest fires in Russia every year, 80 percent of which are caused by human activity, according to the state forestry agency.