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ULAN-UDE, June 20. /TASS/. Forest fires in Siberia and the Far East swelled by nearly 5,000 hectares in the past 24 hours, reaching 21,700 hectares, Russia’s federal aerial forest protection service Avialesokhrana said in a statement on Tuesday.
"As many as 2,200 people have been combatting 96 forest fires covering 21,700 hectares, firefighting activities also involve 285 pieces of equipment and 36 aircraft," the statement reads. Most of the fires are located in Siberia.
According to the Natural Resources Ministry of the Transbaikal region, as of Tuesday morning, there is one forest fire in the region which engulfs 1,700 hectares, another two wildfires covering a total of 7,500 hectares have been contained. "Human errors and dry weather cause most of the fires, however, there is no threat to human settlements," a source in the ministry said. "As many as 144 people, including paratroopers, are fighting the fire using 12 pieces of equipment," he added.
In the Irkutsk region, 11 forest fires have been registered which cover 8,200 hectares. In the Krasnoyarsk region, there are 31 fires engulfing 1,500 hectares, another seven fires covering 383 hectares have been contained.
As of Tuesday morning, six forest fires are being fought in the Republic of Buryatia, which have affected 1,600 hectares. "Two of them have been contained, while other four are still being combatted, including one covering 1,300 hectares, which is the largest forest fire in the North Baikal district," a source in the regional Forestry Agency said. "More than 100 people are fighting the fire, 12 personnel from Avialesokhrana’s federal reserve will also be deployed there," the source added. A total of 300 people are combating the blazes in Buryatia, they are particularly using heavy equipment, including a Mil Mi-8 helicopter.
According to Avialesokhrana, forest fires are also raging in the Republic of Tuva, in the Altai region, in the Republic of Khakassia and the Tomsk region.
Wildfires in the Far East cover around 140 hectares. Hot spots of fire have been registered in the Republic of Yakutia, Amur and Magadan regions.
In the Chukotka autonomous region, three forest fires are being combatted which have affected more than 30 hectares.
"Three wildfires have been registered in the Anadyr district, one of them covers around six hectares of forested land, while another two engulf 11 and 16 hectares on the reindeer pastures. There is no threat to human settlement as hot spots of fire are located far from them," the press service of Russia’s Emergencies ministry’s regional branch said.
The press service added that the fires on forested land were being fought on the ground but personnel and equipment were delivered by planes due to the lack of roads.
In the Kamchatka region, a wildfire has been contained in a hard-to-reach area located more than 600 meters above sea level.