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Wildfires rage across region as hot weather, storms and carelessness combine

By Antonina Koshcheeva and Derek Lambie
23 June 2015

Thousands of hectares of land ablaze with no signs of a let-up.

An estimated 9,300 hectares of woodland is on fire, with fears this will only spread with further hot weather forecast over the next few days. Picture: Copter03

Hot weather, thunderstorms and carelessness have brought fresh wildfires to parts of Siberia just months after deadly blazes killed more than 30 people.

Sixteen districts of the Republic of Buryatia have been affected, including one military forestry, two national parks and the Baikal Nature Reserve.

A state of emergency has been declared by the head of the republic and access to forests has been forbidden as firefighters attempt to tackle the blazes.

An estimated 9,300 hectares of woodland is on fire, with fears this will only spread with further hot weather forecast over the next few days.

Firefighters say, for the most part, the blazes were caused by carelessness from the public and a 48-year-old is suspected of damaging eight hectares of forest in Yeravninsky.

Prosecutors have instigated 105 cases against people for breaking fire prevention rules since the fire season started in Buryatia in April. Since then about 827 fires have been recorded, affecting about 148,000 hectares, a rise on last year’s equivalent total of 608.

Officials say more than 1,300 people are involved in fighting blazes across the region, including farmers and landowners using tractors and bulldozers.

Fires are also affecting other regions, including Zabaykalsky Krai, Krasnoyarsk, Irkutsk Oblast and the Tuva Republic. The most dangerous area is the south of Zabaykalsky Krai, where one fire threatens to spread to inhabited communities.

The area of wildfires in the Trans-Baikal region, for instance, has increased 40-fold over the weekend from 15 to 594 hectares. In the Irkutsk region at one point there were 31 fires covering an area of over 5,300 hectares. 

Paratroopers from the Altai and Khabarovsk territories, as well as from Kemerovo and Tomsk regions, have arrived to help with the firefight. 

The blazes come just two months after wildfires swept across parts of Khakassia and Chita, killing scores of people.

Comments (1)

And I see Mr Putin is on vacation; somebody tell him to "Get Back to Work" & take charge of this, or is he too busy plotting more invasions.
Jaker, Dundalk
30/06/2015 08:42
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