A Russian region affected by huge fires (VIDEO) – RT Russia and the former Soviet Union
The area engulfed by fires in the autonomous region of Khanty-Mansi in central Russia has doubled in 24 hours, with flames now covering nearly 41,000 hectares (160 square miles) according to regional authorities. Smoke warnings have been issued for the entire region.
According to a statement issued Friday morning by the local government’s environmental protection unit, the footprint of the fire increased by 19,500 hectares in 24 hours.
Nine fires had been located over an area of 2,800 hectares, according to the statement, quoted by local media on Friday.
According to the Regional Emergency Department, as of 3 p.m. local time there were 56 fires in the area, with more than 1,000 people, 40 firefighters and 22 aircraft mobilized to fight the blazes.
The department said that while there is no threat of the fires spreading to populated areas, « smoke can be observedacross the region. Residents are advised to limit physical activity and time outdoors, use masks, keep doors and windows closed, and wipe down surfaces in their homes.
Several videos posted on social media show smoke-induced fog hovering over cities including Khanty-Mansiysk, the region’s capital, and Surgut, its largest city. Residents complained of a strong burning smell and extremely low visibility.
Meanwhile, a video apparently filmed by a firefighter and posted on the VKontakte social network gives an idea of the conditions in which emergency teams have to operate. The footage shows firefighters on a local highway suddenly finding themselves surrounded by a fire that had encroached to the right. up the road. The scary video’s caption, however, says « all are alive ».
Oil and gas-rich Khanty-Mansi is not the only region in Russia battling wildfires, despite being one of the hardest hit. According to the Russian Forest Protection Agency, 36 forest fires were extinguished on Thursday in 16 regions. As of midnight Moscow time on Thursday evening, 130 wildfires were active in Russia, affecting a total of 126,400 hectares (500 square miles).
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