Fires on 1,000 ha should be put out in Yakutia in day

BARNAUL, July 22 (Itar-Tass) – Forest fires at an area of 1,000 hectares should be extinguished in Yakutia on Friday, this task was set at a meeting of the response headquarters by the republic’s Deputy Prime Minister Anatoly Skrybykin.

“There has been a positive trend in putting out forest fires,” he pointed out.

According to the Russian Emergency Situations Ministry (EMERCOM), there are 23 spots of wildfires in the forests of Yakutia, and aircraft have poured 532 tonnes of water on them on Thursday. Ten blazes have been contained. More than 1,300 people, 135 pieces of equipment, including 18 aircraft, are involved in the fire fighting efforts in the republic. They carry out reconnaissance of fires and drop smokejumpers for their extinguishing. One Ilyushin Il-76 plane and two helicopters, equipped with water intake systems and discharge units, have been effectively putting out the fires.

A state of emergency is in effect in some districts of Yakutia due to the forest fires.

According to earlier reports, EMERCOM aircraft on Wednesday poured on burning fires in Yakutia nearly 450 tonnes of water, liquidating nine wildfires. However, the republic was still affected by 20 forest fires, 10 of them localised. More than 1,500 people, 196 pieces of equipment, including 12 aircraft, were engaged in the fire fighting efforts, the press service of the EMERCOM main department for Yakutia reported.

A state of emergency was introduced in 18 districts of the republic and in the Yakutsk city district. Together with local specialists, more than 100 smokejumpers from Siberia, the Amur region, Khabarovsk and Primorsky Territories are engaged in putting out fires.

On Thursday, a high fire hazard class was declared in the Primorsky Territory. The same as Yakutia, it is affected by dry hot weather. The likelihood of outbreaks of wildfires in the forests is forecasted in the Kirov, Krasnoarmeisky, Terneisky and Pozharsky districts.

Earlier this week, the authorities of Russia’s republic of Yakutia pledged to reverse the wildfire situation in a few days. “Today or tomorrow we shall try to overcome the situation,” Anatoly Skrybykin told a videoconference at the Emergencies Ministry on Monday.

Under Russian current laws, protection of forests from fires and organisation of fire fighting operations are within the competences of regional authorities. Yakutia is one of the regions, where the wildfire situation, according to the Russian Emergencies Ministry, is most difficult. “I hope quantity is to be transformed into quality. But if there are more new fires than extinguished ones, the situation will not improve. A set of preventive measures is badly needed,” said Ruslan Tsalikov, the First Deputy Emergencies Minister.

The situation when up to 12 new fires are reported every day is inadmissible, he said and urged Yakutia’s authorities to spare no effort to take the fire situation under control.

Wildfires have been ravaging on 15,000 hectares in Yakutia. The Russian Emergencies Ministry has sent Il-76 and Be-200 jets and Mi-26 and Mi-8 helicopters to help put out fires in the republic.

The worst fire situation is reported in Yakutia. According to local forestry authorities, a total of 406,800 hectares, including 316,900 hectares of forests, have been destroyed in the republic since the beginning of this year’ s fire season. The figures for the entire Far Eastern federal district are 364,000 hectares of forests and 113,700 hectares of non-forest lands.

A state of emergency has been in place in the republic’ s 19 municipalities since July 15. The abnormally hot weather with air temperatures reaching 40 degrees Celsius only deteriorates the fire situation. Weather forecasts said the situation would not change within a week.

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