MOSCOW, June 23. /TASS/. Forest fires in Siberia doubled in size in the past 24 hours, reaching 54,000 hectares, Russia’s federal aerial forest protection service Avialesokhrana said in a statement on Friday.
"As of June 23, forest fires in Siberia engulf 54,000 hectares, in the past 24 hours the fires have doubled in size," the statement reads.
Half of the fires are located in the Irkutsk region where they swelled by three times, reaching 27,000 hectares. In the Krasnoyarsk region, fires engulfing 15,000 hectares have been registered, while in the Republic of Tuva forest fires cover 7,400 hectares, and in the Republic of Buryatia fires have affected 2,300 hectares. Fires have particularly been registered in Buryatia’s Tunkinsky National Park and the Baikalsky Natural Reserve, as well as in the Pribaikalsky National Park located in the Irkutsk region, in the Sayano-Shushensky Natural Reserve and the Shushensky Bor National Park in the Krasnoyarsk region.
More than 500 people are combating the blazes in the Krasnoyarsk region where 48 fires are active covering over 14,700 hectares. Hot spots of fire have been registered in 15 districts.
Meanwhile, Avialesokhrana’s 50 paratroopers have arrived in the Republic of Tuva from the Krasnoyarsk region to help battle large wildfires.
Thunderstorms without rain causing wildfires
New fires in the Republic of Buryatia are being caused by thunderstorms without rain, a source in the regional Forestry Agency said. As of the morning of June 23, a total of 25 fires are active in Buryatia, 20 of them covering 2,450 hectares, while the other five, affecting around 40 hectares, have been contained.
"Two fires are being fought in the Tunkinsky National Park, which cover 134 hectares. A decision has been made to send personnel from Avialesokhrana’s federal reserve to combat the blazes," a source in the agency said. "Besides, another hot spot of fire has been detected in a hard-to-reach area in the Baikalsky Natural Reserve," he added.
More than 700 people are fighting wildfires in the region, the state of emergency is still in effect.
According to the Transbaikal region’s Ministry of Natural Resources, as of Friday morning, there are three forest fires covering 25 hectares. Another three wildfires affecting 1,766 hectares have been contained. There is no threat to human settlements. Firefighting activities involve 218 people, including 119 paratroopers, and 35 pieces of equipment.
Situation in Far East
According to the Forestry Agency of the Far Eastern Federal District, in the past 24 hours, 48 forest fires engulfing 12,100 hectares were extinguished. Most fires have been recorded in the Republic of Yakutia, where they affected more than 10,000 in the past 24 hours. There are also forest fires active in the Amur, Magadan and Khabarovsk regions, as well as on the Chukotka Peninsula.
More than 300 people have been combating the fires using 32 pieces of equipment and six aircraft. By Friday morning, two fires in Yakutia were extinguished.
Unmanned aerial vehicles deployed to the Eastern Military District are being used to monitor the forest fire situation in the Far East and Transbaikalia.