Russian planes spread clouds as forest fires rage near Siberian power plant – .

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Russian planes spread clouds as forest fires rage near Siberian power plant – .


YAKUTIA, July 19 (Reuters) – Russian planes sowed clouds to bring rain on huge forest fires raging in the Siberian region of Yakutia which, in one place, has spread dangerously to near a hydroelectric power station, authorities said on Monday.

Fires have broken out across Russia amid a heat wave, tearing more than 1.5 million hectares of land in Yakutia, the worst-affected region. Authorities told people to stay indoors and keep windows closed due to the smoke on Sunday.

The regional capital Yakutsk, sometimes known as the coldest city on the planet, has been forced to suspend flights at its airport due to poor visibility, and transport on the Lena River that crosses Siberia has also been cut off. .

Fires break out in Russian forest lands every year, but they have become more intense in recent years due to unusually high temperatures in the northern Siberian tundra. Yakutia itself is in the throes of a heatwave.

In less than two months, fires in the region have spewed out about 150 megatonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent – close to Venezuela’s annual fossil fuel emissions in 2017, according to the Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service (CAMS), which is part of ‘an observation program of the European Union. .

A firefighter works to extinguish a forest fire near the village of Magaras in the Yakutia region of Russia on July 17, 2021. REUTERS / Roman Kutukov TPX IMAGES DU JOUR

On Monday, a Beriev Be-200 amphibious aircraft from another Siberian region joined a massive effort to contain the blaze involving more than 2,000 firefighters on the ground.

About 123 fires raged Monday over an area of ​​more than 885,000 hectares, announced the Ministry of Environment and Forests of the region.

Firefighters took special care to contain a fire covering 41,300 hectares, he said.

“There is a natural water barrier from the Vilyuy river, but the fire is potentially dangerous for the (…) Svetlinskaya hydroelectric power station,” he said.

Smaller-scale fires have burned in less remote parts of the country.

More than 6,500 firefighters have fought to contain the fires across the country. In Karelia, a region bordering Finland, authorities have evacuated more than 600 people from villages due to fires, the TASS news agency reported.

Report by Reuters TV; written by Tom Balmforth; Editing by Mike Collett-White

Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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