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8 Sep, 2010 15:00

Southern Siberia again in flames

Up to 40 homes have gone up in flames in a Southern Siberian village, as wildfires continue their trail of destruction across Russia.

Locals from Nikolaevka village in the Altay region have been taken to safety. Authorities say 70 firefighters are battling to prevent the fires from reaching another village nearby. More firefighting equipment, including planes and helicopters, are to be sent to the scene from Krasnoyarsk and Moscow.

The abnormal heatwave this summer has caused disastrous wild fires across Russia, which have claimed more than 50 lives. Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has blamed negligence by local authorities for exacerbating the situation and vowed if it happens again – those responsible will be fired.

“It’s obvious that the current laws and level of organization of forest management are not good enough. Current laws give responsibility to the regions. But it doesn’t allow for that responsibility to be withdrawn if there's a failure in duty. If it happens it should lead to the instant firing of officials up to the governor,” the President said.