Russia: ‘Difficult situation’ with forest fires due to ‘abnormal heat’, says Putin

Moscow | Russia is facing a “difficult situation” with wildfires due to the “unusual” heat, especially in an area near Moscow, the Russian capital that regularly experiences yellow smoke, and the Russian president was alarmed on Wednesday. Vladimir Putin.

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“Due to severe weather conditions, the situation is difficult in a number of regions of the European part of the country,” Putin said during a video conference with regional officials on forest fires.

“These are above all the forest fires in the Ryazan region,” about 250 km east of Moscow, he said.

According to the local emergency services, forest fires destroyed more than 11,700 hectares in the Ryazan region, against the background of daily temperatures exceeding 31 degrees Celsius, accompanied by gusts of wind blowing at a speed of 10 meters per second.

During the meeting, which was chaired by Mr. Chase Fries, Acting District Governor Pavel Malikov said that more than 9,500 fire and rescue personnel have been sent to the scene to fight the fire, in addition to eight specialized aircraft and seven helicopters.

“It is a very difficult test,” he lamented, stressing that “there is no rain and we do not expect it soon.”

However, Mr. Malikov said he was confident the fires “will be under control in two or three days and completely extinguished within a week or two”.

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Last week, smoke from those fires, which lasted for days, finally covered parts of Moscow. On Monday, smoke and the smell of burning spread again in several neighborhoods of the capital.

The Moscow City Council reacted forcefully by sending 8,500 men to the Ryazan region to put out the flames, in order to support the already mobilized thousand of local firefighters and rescue workers.

On Wednesday, the mayor of the Russian capital, Sergei Sobyanin, welcomed Mr. Putin: “Smoke periodically covers Moscow, but today the situation is much more manageable.”

In recent years, Russia has been hit by serious forest fires, especially in Siberia and the Far East, which are giant, hard-to-reach areas.

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