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Russia | At least 10 dead in Siberian wildfires

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Cole Hanson
Cole Hanson
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(Moscow) Several fires, exacerbated by high winds, broke out in eastern Siberia, local authorities said Saturday, burning hundreds of buildings and killing dozens.

Updated May 7th

Local authorities in the Krasnoyarsk region said more than 450 homes were bombed and at least five people were killed. There are at least 17 injured, including ten in hospital. A state of emergency has been declared in the area.

And in the Kemerovo region, three dead people were found in a burning house and a criminal investigation was opened. In the Omsk region, two dead and eight wounded.

“Extinguishing is complicated by weather conditions – strong winds accelerate the spread of fires and make it difficult to put an end to them,” the Ministry of Emergency Situations of the Krasnoyarsk Region said. Because of the wind, the fight against fire could only be done on the ground, without resorting to flight.

Photo courtesy of the Russian Foreign Ministry for Emergencies via Agence France-Presse

The region’s governor, Alexander Os, said, following an emergency meeting that appeared in a statement, that the fires were caused by winds that in some areas reached 40 meters per second compared to the planned 25 m/s.

These winds could have caused “trees to fall, overlap and fall of power lines”, after which “fires broke out simultaneously in several regions of the Krasnoyarsk Territory.”

“We have asked for help from the lands next door to us, but we understand that it will only happen at best for a few hours,” Oss said.

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“I gave the order to cut off electricity to part of the area’s lands, with the exception of life-saving facilities, gas stations and water supply systems,” he added.

Photo courtesy of the Russian Foreign Ministry for Emergencies via Agence France-Presse

In the hardest-hit areas, “temporary residence points will be opened and people will benefit from medical and psychological assistance.”

The Meteorological Institute “Rosguidromet” has expanded the forecast for strong winds to 20-25 m/s tomorrow, and even 30 m/s in the mountains. Institute director Roman Vilfand told TASS that the risk of fire will gradually decrease due to the cooling.

Such fires are rare in May. But it turned out that there was no rain for a long time, and there were fires as well as strong winds, explaining that the fires were of human origin.

Unprecedented fires have ravaged Siberia for several years.

In 2021, fires, mainly in eastern Siberia, released 16 million tons of carbon (4And highest volume since measurements began in 2003), according to the annual European Climate Report.

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