MOSCOW, July 29 (RIA Novosti)
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Forest fires continue to rage in Siberia on a total area of over 23,000 hectares, with the worst of the blazes concentrated in the Tomsk Region, the Russian Emergencies Ministry reported on Sunday.
“In total, there are 143 wildfires in the Siberian Federal District on a total area of about 23,300 hectares, of which 33 fires have been localized on an area of 6,200 hectares. A total of 26 large wildfires continue to rage on an area of 17,000 hectares,” the ministry said.
Most of the fires are raging in the Tomsk Region on an area of 9,900 hectares.
“Over the past twenty-four hours, the effective measures by the Emergency Ministry’s firefighting teams, aviation and anti-fire technologies have helped prevent the spread of the wildfires raging at a distance of 5 km from populated areas and economic facilities in the Siberian Federal District,” the ministry said in a statement.
The Siberian Forestry Department reported on Friday that as of July 27 there were 131 forest fires on a total area of 14,948 hectares in the Krasnoyarsk Territory, the Tomsk Region, the Republics of Tyva and Khakassia and the Irkutsk Region.
The Emergency Ministry has announced the start of the massive use of aviation from Saturday to fight wildfires in Siberia. The ministry has committed four BE-200 amphibious planes, three Ilyushin Il-76 transport planes, three Mi-8 helicopters with water discharging devices and one Mi-26 to fight forest fires in the Tomsk Region.
In total, these aircraft have dumped over 1,200 tons of water on forest areas hit by fires.
The regional authorities have dispatched four Mi-8 and two Robinson helicopters and An-2 planes to fight the wildfires.
In total, over 6,200-strong personnel, including over 1,100 firefighters from the Emergency Ministry and 411 volunteers, are engaged in the fire-fighting effort in Siberia.
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