Russian fire situation aggravate

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Firefighters work to extinguish fire standing next to a burning building outside the town of Vyksa, some 150 km (93 miles) southwest of the Volga city of Nizhny Novgorod, July 29, 2010. [Xinhua/Reuters Photo]

Russian Emergency Situations Minister Sergei Shoigu on Saturday warned that currently fire situations in 17 Russian regions may further aggravate, and urged continuous supervision on some strategic targets.

"The situation is serious in Vladimir and Moscow regions, that were struck by peat fires," the minister told reporters, adding that crown fires may occur in all 17 affected Russian regions.

In fact, crown fires have already started in the Nizhny Novgorod region, he said, with a flame speed at 100 meters per minute.

"In six hours the fire ravaged 86,000 hectares of the area. The fire uprooted some trees. The flame crossed the lake as a pool," said the minister.

Meanwhile, in order to protect the city of Sarov, which is 400 km southeast of Moscow and equipped with nuclear facilities, four airplanes are working day and night, said Shoigu.

Additionally, the Russian Emergency Situations Ministry has planned to acquire seven fire-fighting planes and helicopters, namely two Be-200 amphibious aircraft and five Mi-26 helicopters, to help extinguish the fires.

The ministry earlier said in a website statement that some 238, 000 people, 25,000 vehicles and 16 aircraft are involved in the effort to extinguish the fires that have destroyed some 1,200 homes.

The wildfires reportedly were caused by the unprecedented heat wave and human negligence, and were fanned by tornados in the central and western parts of Russia, which is suffering its hottest summer since record-keeping began 130 years ago.


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