Russian army helps fight forest fires in Siberia with its heavy transport planes
MOSCOW – The Russian army helped fight forest fires in Siberia with its heavy transport planes, the Ministry of Defense announced on Saturday.
It was said that the crew of the military transport planes Il-76 threw 336 metric tons (370 tons) of water on the fires in Sakha-Yakutia in northeastern Siberia in the last 24 hours.
The ministry said that military helicopters also released water for firefighting and transported firefighters.
The regional branch of the Ministry of Emergency Situations in Sakha-Yakutia said that more than 2,000 of its staff are fighting the fires.
The Russian state agency responsible for fighting forest fires, Avialesookhrana, said that more than 300 fires affected about 857,000 hectares (over 2.1 million hectares).
It was pointed out that Saha-Yakutia was the most affected, with 123 fires covering more than 725,700 hectares (about 1.8 million hectares).
Russia has been plagued by widespread forest fires, blamed on unusually high temperatures and neglect of fire protection rules.