MOSCOW, September 8. /TASS/. Two Beriev Be-200 amphibious planes of the Russian Ministry for Emergency Situations have protected against wildfires 24 Portuguese settlements, home to almost 80,000 people, the ministry press service told Tass on Tuesday.
Two Russian Beriev Be-200 aircraft arrived in Portugal on August 13 and began operations the next day. The crew has extensive firefighting experience, the Russian Emergencies Ministry said. The Russian Emergencies Ministry’s aircraft are located at the airport in the city of Leiria.
"All in all, planes of the Ministry for Emergency Situations have dumped more than 1,500 tons of water in 134 episodes. As a result, they have prevented the fire from spreading towards three national parks and 24 settlements with a population of more than 78,000 people," a ministry representative said.
He said that in the past 24 hours, Be-200 planes have made two sorties, dumping 124 tons of water on burning woodland, protecting three settlements, home to more than 10,000 people.
Meanwhile, the situation remains difficult in Portugal where temperatures are soaring. However, the assistance of Russian airplanes helps to keep it under control, the authorities say.
The Beriev Be-200 multipurpose airplane, known as one of the world’s most effective aircraft for firefighting, has a capacity of 12 tons of water and is capable of suppressing large-scale wildfires by conducting multiple water drops on a fire site.