Spring floods and forest fires are threatening the ecology of many Russian regions. The danger is so high in some of them that the Russian Ministry for Emergency Situations is sending four firefighting tanker planes to the Baikal Lake’s Chita region, Itar-Tass reports from different areas.
Il-74 firefighting tanker planes can carry 42 tons of water. They will be assisted by Mi-26 and Mi-8 helicopters, which will help put off forest fires. According to the emergencies ministry, 158 fires are raging in the Chita region, including 16 major fires. Rescue teams take measures to protect settlements and industrial objects form blaze. According to ministry reports, 343 fires are currently fixed across Russia, mainly in Siberia and Far East. The number of forest fires in the Siberian Irkutsk region has increased fivefold over the past 24 hours. About 50 fire centers covering a total area of more than 200 hectares have been fixed near big cities, including Irkutsk, Angardk, Shelekhov and Ussolye-Sibirskoye.
A cyclone which is hovering over the Irkutsk region, as well as the Ust-Ordynsk and Buryatiya autonomous districts, have brought there strong winds which contribute to the spreading of fire.
The regional commission for fight against forest fires has restricted access to the forests during the forthcoming May Day and V-Day holidays.
Meanwhile, fire has been put out on more than 4,000 hectares in Buryatia over the past 24 hours, reducing the number of fights almost by half. Over 750 people are combating the blaze in the region.
Meanwhile, the ice in the upper streams of the Lena River has broken up on a section of 250 kilometers. Drifting ice will soon approach the cities of Zhigalovo, Ust-Kut and is expected by mid-May to reach Lensk, which suffered last spring from a devastating flood.
However, specialists hope that weather can introduce changes into gloomy forecasts. A cold front over the Baikal region will bring about a sharp decrease of temperature, which will slow down the breaking of ice.
According to the regional department for civil defense and emergency situations, rescuers and field engineers have been concentrated in all sections of the Lena River where floods can be expected. Local population has been warned about the danger of flooding.
Spring floods are subsiding in the Volgograd region, but forest fires have come instead into that Volga River region.