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Wildfires sweep over record 32,000 hectares in southern Siberia

May 26, 2015, 9:42 UTC+3 ULAN-UDE
Since the start of the fire season in Russia’s Buryatia, a total of 598 fires have been registered across over 77,000 hectares
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© ITAR-TASS/Igor Ageenko

ULAN-UDE, May 26. /TASS/. The wildfire area in southern Siberia has grown by 20% over the past 24 hours to 32,000 hectares in mountain taiga and steppes of Buryatia, a spokesperson for the local forestry agency said on Tuesday.

Now a total of 28 forest fires are raging across the territory of the republic. "The fires have been registered in 10 areas of the republic," Alexandra Yegorova said.

The fire-fighting operation currently involves 1,500 people, including smoke jumpers, and also 164 fire engines and 70 pieces of heavy equipment. Servicemen are helping the rescuers and rangers in the effort.

According to the press service of the Eastern military district, helicopters are used to monitor the situation in the republic. Water is poured from the aircraft towards the fire zones.

Since the start of the fire season in Russia’s Buryatia, a total of 598 fires have been registered across over 77,000 hectares. A state of emergency introduced in mid-April remains in force.

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