VOLGOGRAD, August 11 (Itar-Tass) — The efforts to extinguish a major wildfire the area of which has increased 10 times in less than a day, continue in the Volgograd region.
The press service of the regional emergencies department told Itar-Tass that at present the “area affected by the fire is 1,620 hectares, 385 hectares of which are occupied by pinery of the Archedinsky forestry in the territory of the Frolovsky district of the region.”
There is no threat to nearby populated localities, the emergencies officials stressed.
The fire alarm came at 17:10 MSK on Wednesday – a steppe fire at 162 hectares spread to 20 hectares of pinewood. The hot and windy weather contributed to the fire spreading.
As many as 450 people and 111 special machinery units are involved in the fire-fighting efforts. It has been decided to use aircraft for increasing the work efficiency.
An Ilyushin Il-76 plane of the Russian Emergency Situations Ministry was expected to arrive from Moscow soon to the emergency zone, and a Mi-8 helicopter of the Southern Regional Emergencies Centre – from Rostov-on-Don.
According to earlier reports, a forest fire has broken out anew in the suburbs of Volgograd, near the settlement of Kamenny Buerak, a source from the press service of the southern regional centre of the Russian Ministry for Emergency Situations told Itar-Tass by telephone. On Tuesday, trees caught fire near the settlement because of unsanctioned burning of dry grass, and a crown fire began then. Firemen evacuated 60 people. By Wednesday morning the fire, whose area exceeded 100 hectares, was put out.
The fire began anew on Wednesday, the source said. “The area of the fire is ten to 12 hectares, and the wind impedes efforts to put it out. South-eastern wind with gusts up to 11 meters per second is blowing there, and its direction is from the settlement,” the source added. According to him, the fire raged at the distance of 100 metres from residential buildings. “Local residents refused to be evacuated, but all have been moved to a safe place,” the source stressed.
Eyewitnesses say several centres of fire appeared simultaneously. A Mi-8 helicopter dumps water. According to early reports of the regional emergencies ministry’s department, at least 130 hectares of steppe and forest plantation have been destroyed by blaze in a day. Wartime shells exploded there, impeding the work of firemen.