MOSCOW, February 3. /TASS/. The Russian emergencies ministry’s Ilyushin Il-76 plane has saved five Chilean settlements from wildfire, the ministry’s press service told TASS.
The Il-76 plane arrived in Chile on January 30 at the country’s government’s request. "The plane has carried out 13 fire-fighting missions, dropping a total of 546 tons of water onto the burning forests. The Russian pilots prevented the fire from spreading towards five settlements: Portezuelo, Navidad, Concepcion, San Javier and San Juan with a total population of more than 56,000," the press service said.
The Il-76 plane, equipped with spray tanks, is capable of dropping over 42 tons of water onto the seats of fire. The plane is used to extinguish fires in most complicated difficult, when fire poses a threat to human settlements. "The main task of the emergencies ministry’s pilots is to contain the fire and protect settlements," the ministry said.
In the wake of forest fires, emergency has been declared in seven regions of Chile (Coquimbo, Valparaiso, Metropolitana, O’Higgins, Maule, Bio Bio and Araucania). According to the National Office for Emergency of the Chilean interior ministry, over 120 seats of forest affecting more than 350,000 hectares of territory have been detected in the country. The blazes have claimed the lives of 11 people while over 150 people have suffered injuries. The Santa-Olga settlement was wiped out by fire, over 6,000 people had to be evacuated.
The Russian emergencies ministry’s National Emergencies Control Center has been conducting round-the-clock monitoring of the wildfire situation in Chile. "Russian experts are detecting the seats of fire and creating fire-development models taking into account the location of settlements," the ministry elaborated. Satellite photos, fire-development models and other information in Russian, Spanish and English languages is provided to the Russian emergencies ministry’s task force and the Chilean agriculture ministry’s National Center coordinating firefighting activities.