Russia: Putin fires forest agency chief over blazes

By ASSOCIATED PRESS
August 20, 2010 21:32

 
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MOSCOW — Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin Friday sacked Russia's forestry agency chief, who had come under fierce criticism over the failure to prevent the summer's devastating wildfires.

Putin dismissed Rosleskhoz head Alexei Savinov and replaced him with his deputy, Viktor Maslyakov. The prime minister has previously criticized the agency for failing to efficiently use the government funds allocated for fire prevention.

A heat wave unprecedented in 130 years of record-keeping has triggered thousands of wildfires in Russia. More than 50 people have been killed and more than 2,000 homes have been destroyed.

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