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Military deploys air tankers and helicopters to combat devastating wildfires in Siberia (VIDEOS)

Military deploys air tankers and helicopters to combat devastating wildfires in Siberia (VIDEOS)
Military aircraft have made dozens of sorties to drop water on severe wildfires that are rapidly spreading across vast swathes of Siberia. Unusually dry weather and inaction by locals authorities have been blamed for the disaster.

Siberian forests, sometimes called the ‘lungs of Europe’ due to their major role in soaking up emissions, have been devastated by raging wildfires during this year’s hot summer.

The areas worst hit by the blaze are Yakutia and Krasnoyarsk regions, where 1.2 million and 1.1 million hectares respectively were burning at one point. The fire also ravaged Irkutsk Region, where 700,000 hectares were burning. The total area affected by the fire is comparable to the size of Belgium.

The fire is spreading across the isolated areas of Siberia. The Defense Ministry deployed Il-76 air tankers and Mi-8 helicopters to combat the blaze. The military said that constant waterbombing had helped to put out the fires on more than 450,000 hectares in Krasnoyarsk and Irkutsk regions, which is about a third of the affected area there.

Wildfires are common in Russia but the disaster is spreading faster than usual at present. More areas fell victim to the severe blaze due to “the long period of dry weather and the lack of active measures” to fight the fires by local authorities, a senior official at the Emergencies Ministry, Sergey Abanin, said.

Also on rt.com Trump calls Putin, offers help putting out Siberia wildfires – Moscow

Devastating fires made headlines across the globe and were among the issues recently discussed by President Vladimir Putin during a phone call with his US counterpart, Donald Trump. Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte has also offered help in putting out the fires.

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