Russia battles forest fires amid heatwave

Russia battles forest fires amid heatwave

27 July 2011

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Russia — The potent mix of high temperatures, strong winds and carelessness has caused an outbreak of forest fires in Russia. In Volgograd Blast in the south of the country people were evacuated as the flames spread.

Two hundred and fifty members of the emergency services were in action while from the skies special water bombing aircraft tried to halt the progress of the inferno.

In some areas exploding shells from the second world war added to the danger.

There are no reports of any injuries in the two main centres of the fires, the south of the country and in the north in the Arkhangelesk region.

The situation is worse in the north where firefighters are trying to contain the spread of the flames.

Officials say 220 fires are still burning across a total of 18,000 hectares with more than 4,000 firefighters involved across the country.

There are fears of a repeat of last year’s disaster, when fires claimed dozens of lives and devastated crops, which forced Russia to impose a ban on exports of grain.

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