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East Siberian fires leave 17 injured — emergencies ministry

The wildfires affected 14 villages and towns

MOSCOW, April 20. /TASS/. A total of 17 people were injured in wildfires that rage in southeast Siberia’s Trans-Baikal region, the Russian emergencies ministry’s press service told TASS.

"A total of 17 people were injured, eight of them were hospitalized. 108 residents were evacuated, 83 of them are staying at emergency shelters," a spokesperson said.

According to the ministry, the wildfires affected 14 villages and towns in the area.

"The fire was put out in 11 out of 14 wildfire-hit settlements in the Trans-Baikal Region and contained in the remaining three," the source added.

According to the Russian emergencies ministry’s latest update, the fire destroyed 152 buildings, 98 of them are residential ones.

The firefighting effort involves over 300 people and 54 pieces of hardware. By 3:00 Saturday Moscow time, two Be-200 firefighting planes will arrive to the regional capital Chita.

At the moment, the emergencies ministry has been redeploying its personnel and equipment to areas where the situation is most dangerous.

The ministry attributes the wildfires to unfavorable weather conditions, such as strong winds and a sudden spell of unnaturally warm weather which occurred when lakes and rivers were still covered by ice. Currently, the wind subsides and the air is getting colder.