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Situation with raging wildfires in Russia's Siberia remains complicated

April 15, 2015, 9:39 UTC+3 CHITA
A criminal case over negligence has been opened against an acting head of state forest service of the Trans-Baikal Territory and officials responsible for fire-fighting operations
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© Yevgeny Yepachintsev/TASS

CHITA, April 15. /TASS/. A situation with raging wildfires in the Trans-Baikal Territory, in Russia’s southeastern Siberia, is under control, but remains complicated, Boris Borzov, the chief fire supervision inspector of the Russian Emergencies Ministry, said on Wednesday.

"The situation is very tense, but under control and we must be all remain alerted," Borzov said.

"We will be reinforcing fire-combating capacities both on the ground and in the air," he said. "Mil Mi-8 and Mi-26 as well as two Be-200 plane are already on duty in the region and the air support grouping will be beefed up if necessary."

According to Borzov, a total of 112 wildfires are currently raging in the Trans-Baikal Territory.

The region’s governor, Konstantin Ilkovsky, said over 200 residential houses were destroyed inflicting damages on 21,000 people as a result of wildfires.

"According to our information, which is still being updated, 203 houses in 18 residential areas were completely destroyed," Ilkovsky said adding that 284 dacha buildings were damaged.

The situation with wildfires is complicated in the Siberian Federal District, particularly in the Republic of Buryatia and the Republic of Khakassia.

Vladimir Svetelsky, the head of the Emergencies Ministry's local rescue center, said on Tuesday that strong winds were fuelling forest fires in Siberia.

Wildfires raging in the Republic of Khakassia have left over 20 people dead and some 4,700 homeless. Local meteorologists have warned of strong winds which could cause more fires in Khakassia.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Tuesday that President Vladimir Putin had no plans so far to visit Khakassia, but assured that the president was keeping the wildfire situation in the region under personal supervision.

Officials responsible for extinguishing fires accused of negligence

A criminal case over negligence has been opened against an acting head of state forest service of the Trans-Baikal Territory in Russia’s Siberia and some officials of the regional government responsible for fire-fighting operations.

The case is based on the materials of checks carried out by prosecutors into the response to the recent devastating fires, the press service of the regional prosecutor’s office said on Wednesday.

The prosecutors say the checks found violations of legislation due to which the region’s authorities had failed to fulfill their duties, and in particular, to provide the necessary means and forces to put out fires and also protect settlements from fires.

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