Flames continue to spread in forest fire disaster in Russia


The forest fire catastrophe in Russia is spreading ominously: On Sunday, the Federal Agency for the Protection of the Forests reported almost 252 fires on a total area of 4.4 million hectares.

This is again more than the day before. According to the report, more than 8,000 helpers are in action to fight the flames, while 14 firefighting planes are providing support from the air.

The situation is still worst in the republic of Yakutia in eastern Siberia. According to the forestry protection agency, an area of 4.2 million hectares is currently burning there alone.

Most recently, the number of firefighting teams there was massively increased on the orders of President Vladimir Putin.

According to the Yakutia authorities, 4,900 forces were on the ground on Sunday. They want to prevent the flames from spreading to at least nine villages.

Many fires are located far away from villages and towns, and are therefore not extinguished. Nevertheless, they are dangerous for people: The smoke, which is harmful to health, has already travelled thousands of kilometres to the west and south.

The local news website Yakutia.info reported that the maximum permissible concentration of harmful substances in the air had recently been exceeded in Yakutia.

Measurements in the city of Yakutsk, for example, showed high levels of carbon monoxide.

People were called upon to wear masks outdoors, which should be moistened beforehand. Pictures from the city showed smoky streets. The sun could no longer be seen in places.

While emergency workers in the forest-fire areas are hoping for rain, other areas of Russia have too much of it.

After heavy rains in the south, there was flooding in villages and towns along the Black Sea coast and on the Crimean peninsula over the weekend.

Areas in southern Siberia and the fareast were also affected. Thousands of people were temporarily brought to safety.

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