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In this grab taken from video released by the Russian Defense Ministry Press Service, an air view of smoke from a forest fire in the republic of Sakha also knows as Yakutia, Russia Far East, Saturday, July 17, 2021. The Russian military has used its heavy-lift transport planes to help douse wildfires in Siberia. The Defense Ministry said Saturday that over the last 24 hours the crew of Il-76 military transport planes dropped water on forest fires in Yakutia in northeastern Siberia. The ministry said that military helicopters also dropped water to extinguish fires and also carried firefighters. (Russian Defense Ministry Press Service via AP)

 

Heavy smoke from raging wildfires covered the Russian city of Yakutsk and 50 other Siberian towns and settlements Sunday, temporarily halting operations at the city’s airport.

Russia has been plagued by widespread forest fires, blamed on unusually high temperatures and the neglect of fire safety rules, with the Sakha-Yakutia region in northeastern Siberia being the worst affected region.

Local emergency officials said 187 fires raged in the region on Sunday, and the total area engulfed by blazes has grown by 100,000 hectares (about 247,000 acres) in the past 24 hours.

Smoke from the fires covered 51 towns, settlements and cities in the region, including the capital Yakutsk, forcing authorities to suspend all flights in and out of the city.

Russia’s Emergency Ministry said Sunday it had deployed two amphibious aircraft to Yakutia to help tackle the fires. More than 2,200 people are involved in the firefighting effort.

In this handout photo taken from video released by Russian Emergency Situations Ministry press service, a Russian Emergency Ministry's Beriev multipurpose amphibious aircraft Be-200 takes-off to drop water during extinguishing a forest fire in the republic of Sakha also knows as Yakutia, Russia Far East, Sunday, July 18, 2021. Russia has been plagued by widespread forest fires, blamed on unusually high temperatures and the neglect of fire safety rules, with Sakha-Yakutia in northeastern Siberia being the worst affected region lately. Local emergency officials said 187 fires raged in the region on Sunday, and the total areas engulfed by blazes have grown by 100,000 hectares (about 247,000 acres) in the past 24 hours. (Russian Emergency Situations Ministry press service via AP)

 

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