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The history of forest fires was studied in north-west Russia near the Finnish-Russian border on a total of 22 transects within a 3 × 4 km area, 100 m long and 20 m wide, by dendrochronological methods. In total, 25 fires were identified as having occurred in the area between 1400 and 1998. On average, a fire occurred somewhere within the area once every 23 yrs, and once every 13 yrs between 1650 and 1950. The fire frequency (proportion of the area burnt per time unit) broadly followed the changes in the number of fires, but there were also differences. The fire frequency was 1.87% from 1679 to 1872 and 0.40% from 1873 onwards. The mean fire interval was 62 yrs and the median interval 56 yrs. According to the tree-ring width chronology tree growth was significantly lower in the dated fire years than in other years. Forest fire history in north-west Russia is broadly similar to that in many parts of Scandinavia.