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Russian Emergencies Ministry’s aircraft arrives in Armenia to fight wildfire

The Il-76 aircraft is capable of dropping 42 tonnes of water on a fire site

YEREVAN, August 14. /TASS/. The Russian Emergencies Ministry’s Ilyushin Il-76 aircraft has arrived in the Armenian capital of Yerevan, a source in Armenia’s Emergencies Ministry told TASS on Monday. The aircraft, upgraded to combat fires, was dispatched by the Russian Emergencies Ministry upon Armenia’s request to help fight a wildfire in the Khosrov Forest national park, which broke out on Saturday.

"The Il-76 aircraft landed at Yerevan’s Erebuni airport at 19:20 local time (15:20 GMT)," the source said. Armenian First Deputy Emergencies Minister Enriko Apriamov and high-ranking officials from the Russian-Armenian Center for Humanitarian Response were present at the airport to greet Russian rescue workers.

The Ilyushin-76 aircraft will early on Tuesday join efforts to put out a major wildfire in Armenia's Khosrov Forest State Reserve. This was the decision of Russian and Armenian specialists after they had examined on Monday the part of the national reserve in the area of Ararat, where a wildfire broke out on Saturday.

"Basing on results of an air reconnaissance, the decision was taken to carry out a fire-fighting operation from the Il-76 aircraft early in the morning," the Armenian Ministry for Emergency Situations said.

The aircraft with water dumping equipment was dispatched to Armenia on Monday at the request of Armenian colleagues requesting help in firefight efforts in the national park.

An Il-76 aircraft can dump 42 tonnes of water at a time, as well as create an 800-meter-long and 60-meter-wide fire break on a total area of about 50,000 square meters. Ilyushin-76 is rated among the biggest air tankers in the world.

Immediately upon arrival, the Russians together with their Armenian partners headed to the site of fire. They will conduct aerial surveillance, after which the Il-76 aircraft will start fighting the fire. The Il-76 aircraft is capable of dropping 42 tonnes of water on a fire site at a time, creating a water line 800 meters long and 80 meters wide, the source added. To provide water for the firefighting activities, 12 water tanks carrying 90 tonnes of water have arrived at the site.

The Ilyushin Il-76 is considered one of the largest aircraft used to combat fires. Its crew members are trained to operate in difficult circumstances and have a vast experience in fighting forest fires.

On August 12, a large wildfire broke out in the Khosrov Forest national park, located 61 kilometers away from Yerevan. The fire has covered an area of hundreds of hectares.