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Siberia’s forest fires quadruple to engulf 30,000 hectares

May 26, 2017, 9:45 UTC+3 ULAN-UDE

Over the past 24 hours, 18 forest fires covering 542 hectares have been extinguished

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© Mikhail Pochuev/TASS

ULAN-UDE, May 26. /TASS/. Siberian forest fires have swelled four times, from 7,000 to 30,000 hectares in the past 24 hours, the federal aerial forest protection service Avialesokhrana said in a statement on Friday.

"As of the morning of May 26, in the Krasnoyarsk region, fires have engulfed 15,000 hectares, while 13,800 hectares in the Irkutsk region and 1,000 hectares in the Republic of Tuva have been affected by fires," the statement reads.

Over the past 24 hours, 18 forest fires covering 542 hectares have been extinguished, the regional firefighting center said adding that 33 wildfires were being fought.

"Most of the fires occur in hard-to-reach areas, they pose no threat to populated areas," the center added. More than 600 personnel and 120 units of equipment are involved in combating the blazes.

Ground and aerial patrols have been stepped up in the region. According to preliminary information, human errors cause most of the fires.

The number of people who turned for medical assistance as a result of the Siberian fires has reached 100, two people have been hospitalized, a source in the Disaster Medicine Center told TASS.

According to the local branch of the Russian Investigative Committee, three people died in the fires.

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