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Russian Emergencies Ministry to send more personnel to fight Siberian fires

April 29, 16:17 updated at: April 29, 17:10 UTC+3 BUBNOVKA

An The Ilyushin Il-76 aircraft, capable of dropping 42 tonnes of water on a fire site at a time, has arrived in the Irkutsk region, as well as a Beriev Be-200 amphibious aircraft

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BUBNOVKA /Irkutsk region/, April 29. /TASS/. Russia’s Emergencies Ministry is sending more personnel and special equipment in order to combat fires in Siberia and protect populated localities, Emergencies Minister Vladimir Puchkov said.

"The holiday season has begun, the weather is unlikely to help us. In accordance with the president’s order, we are sending more personnel and equipment to fight fires in the Irkutsk region and other Siberian regions," he added.

An The Ilyushin Il-76 aircraft, capable of dropping 42 tonnes of water on a fire site at a time, has arrived in the Irkutsk region, as well as a Beriev Be-200 amphibious aircraft.

Puchkov also said that "some homes and infrastructure facilities burned down but they will be restored. "The main thing is to protect the people," the minister stressed.

At the same time, he pointed out that a state of emergency remained in effect in the Siberian Federal District.

On Friday, nearly 100 homes in the Republic of Buryatia, the Irkutsk and Krasnoyarsk regions were destroyed by fires caused by hot and dry weather and fanned by gusty winds. There have been no casualties.

Russia’s defense ministry sends two Il-76 planes

Russia’s defense ministry has commissioned two heavy Ilyushin Il-76 planes to help extinguish wildfires in Russia’s Siberian Irkutsk region, Colonel Yaroslav Roshchupkin, an aide to the commander of Central Military District troops, said on Saturday.

"Two planes equipped with VAP-2 airborne spray tanks arrived from European Russia to the Belaya airdrome in the Irkutsk region and are now getting prepared to join firefighting operation. Mi-8 helicopters of the Central Military Districts’ rescue team that are based at the Bratsk airdrome are involved in air surveying operations. Apart from that, they are used to take ground teams of firefighters, foresters and technical equipment to taiga areas," he said.

A state of emergency has been imposed in the entire Siberian Federal District over ongoing wildfires. The most serious situation is in the Irkutsk region and the Republic of Buryatia where about 100 dwelling houses have been burnt down to the ground in fires.

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