SIMFEROPOL, June 27 (Itar-Tass) — Fight against the fire that broke out in the Yalta nature reserve in Crimea overnight to Wednesday has continued for already over 12 hours, Yalta Mayor Alexei Boyarchuk has said.
Specialists from only from Yalta, but also from Simferopol, Alupka, Mishor, Foros and Gurzuf take part. Special vehicles with cisterns have been summoned from all resort settlements on the southern coast of Ukraine’s Crimea, the mayor said.
He stressed that the situation is such that the blaze can be put out only from the mountain and from air. The road to Ai-Petri Mountain has been blocked for all traffic with the exception of fire vehicles, ambulances and water trucks, he said. A Mi-8 helicopter has dumped on the fire already 27 tons of water, but the operation is impeded by strong winds.
Dense smoke can be seen over Yalta, and residents and holidayers have to cover the windows with wet sheets. Residents of the Massandra and Vassilyevka districts, situated closest to the fire, leave their homes because of a strong smell of smoke, and kindergartens are being closed.
According to updated reports, the blaze broke out in the Uch-Kosh gorge. A lightning hit a tree that caught fire, and the blaze spread to other coniferous trees and junipers. The fire area is over two hectares.
About 300 forest guards and fire-fighters are continuing to fight the fire, but their work is complicated by the strong wind that brings sparks to nearby forest areas. Over one hectare burned up overnight.
Firefighters are assisted by 29 units of hardware and a Mi-8 helicopter. Emergency headquarters have been set up at the Crimean emergencies ministry.