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Defense minister orders to place fire fighting forces on alert

August 05, 2014, 16:02 UTC+3 5 5/8
The military have twelve Il-76 planes, 34 Mi-8s and two Mi-26 helicopters on standby
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© ITAR-TASS/Sergei Yeshchenko

MOSCOW, August 5. /ITAR-TASS/. All the fire-fighting forces of the Russian army are placed on alert under Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu's order in connection with the worsening wildfire situation in Russian regions, the Defense Ministry's press service said on Tuesday.

The military have twelve Il-76 planes, 34 Mi-8s and two Mi-26 helicopters on standby. The ministry's fire fighting force numbers 19,500 people. They have about 3,000 special vehicles.

The minister has ordered the command of the Western Military District and the Air Force's transport service to immediately begin fighting forest fires in the Tver and Leningrad regions, where the situation is the most complicated.

Three Il-76 planes from a base in the Tver region and three Il-76s from a base in the Pskov region each will carry out two flights to extinguish fire outbreaks in the Tver region, west of Moscow, during the day.

On Monday, military helicopters extinguished a fire on more than five hectares in the Kingisepp district in the Leningrad region. The Mi-8s carried out more than ten flights.

A Mi-26 helicopter of the Western Military District on Tuesday began to fight a forest fire near the residential site of Toksovo, the Leningrad region. As has been reported, the outbreak is brought under control and will be extinguished soon.

All the aircraft are equipped to drop water. An Il-76 is capable to carry up to 40 tonnes of water, a Mi-26 up to 15 tonnes, and a Mi-8 up to five tonnes.

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