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Forest fires engulf 24,000 hectares in Siberia and Far East

MOSCOW, July 21. /TASS/. Forest fires in Siberia and in the Far East have grown by 1,000 hectares in one day, covering a total of 24,000 hectares, the Federal Aerial Forest Fire Center reported on Friday.

"Total area of wildfires raging in Yakutia has grown by over 1,000 hectares, covering a total of 18,500 hectares. There are also blazes in the Sakhalin, Kamchatka, Buryatia and Krasnoyarsk Regions. The total area of fires is 24,000 hectares," the center reported.

The Yakutia Forestry Agency has reported 17 blazes, eight of them in the Vilyisky District (16,500 hectares). "The fires might have been sparked by lighting. Reserve forces of the Federal Aerial Forest Fire Center’s, specialists from aviation departments and forest and chemical stations from eight districts have been deployed to fight fires, as well as the local residents. More than 600 people are combating fires in the region," the agency reported.

Four wildfires scorching 2,400 hectares have been reported in Buryatia, where a state of emergency was declared in 14 districts. "Blazes in the Kabansky district and in the Baikal Nature Reserve in the Dzhidinsky District are being contained. Two hundred and thirty-seven people are taking part in the efforts," the region’s forestry agency reported.

The Krasnoyarsk Forest Fire Center has reported eight blazes in the Krasnoyarsk Region. "Blazes are active in 45 hectares in the Yeniseisky, Evenkiysky, Kezhemsky, Boguchansky and Berezovsky Districts. There is no threat to any communities. Ninety people are fighting fires," the center reported, adding that four fires are scorching 637 hectares in the area controlled from space. According to preliminary data, all of them were sparked by thunderstorms.

A total of 3,000 hectares continue to be ablaze in the Sakhalin Region. According to the regional department of the Hydrometeorology and Environmental Monitoring Agency, elevated fire conditions are forecasted in the Okhinsky and Nogliksky Districts. A small fire is engulfing 30 hectares in Kamchatka, according to the Federal Aerial Forest Fire Center.