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Army units, aircraft ready to help battle Siberia wildfires

April 14, 2015, 10:27 UTC+3 ULAN-UDE

Up to 2,500 military as well as more than 300 units of hardware are ready to join the fight

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© Yevgeny Yepachintsev/TASS

ULAN-UDE, April 14. /TASS/. Military units and aircraft of Russia’s Siberia have been put on alert, ready to participate in efforts to cope with major wildfires raging in the region, a spokesman for the Eastern Military District said on Tuesday.

According to Alexander Gordeyev, up to 2,500 military as well as more than 300 units of hardware are ready to join the fight. He said two Mi-8 helicopters were already on air patrols. "Another four Mi-8 helicopters with dumping equipment on board are ready to help in putting out wildfires," Gordeyev said.

Meanwhile, the area of wildfires in the Siberian Federal District has grown 1.4 times over the past 24 hours, reaching 14,000 hectares, the press service of the regional forestry department reports.

The strongest fires are registered in Trans-Baikal and Krasnoyarsk Territoriess, in the republics of Buryatia and Tuva, as well as in the Irkutsk region and Altai Republic.

A total of 693 wildfires covering an area of 89,700 hectares have been fixed in the Siberian Federal District this year. Strong winds with gusts up to 25 meters per second are forecasted in the Amur region, where a state of emergency was declared on Monday over wildfires.

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