Russia — More than one thousand people were evacuated from their homes in the Sakha Republic – also known as Yakutia – which is the largest region of the Russian Federation, while states of emergency are also in effect in other major regions such as Kransnoyarsk and Irkutsk.
Famed for its cold and permafrost, Sakha is now under siege from wildfires.
Vyacheslav Popov, head of the republic’s Forestry Department, said: ‘The area of wildfires doubled. There are 37 active wildfires in the republic right now covering the territory of 76,000 hectares. There is a threat to eight settlements in five areas of Yakutia”
‘The biggest number if wildfires are here in Vilyui district’, said the the local administration head, Sergey Vinokurov.
‘They all started at the same time because of so-called ‘dry thunderstorms’ which we had last week.
‘We had to send helicopters to evacuate people out of the most dangerous areas and bring them to Vilyuisk’.
The town is an administrative capital some 600 kilometres northwest of capital Yakutsk.
As Siberia frazzles in the summer heat, states of emergency were introduced in areas of Krasnoyarsk and Irkutsk regions, the Republic of Buryatia, and three districts of Trans-Baikal region, plus one of the Tyva Republic.
‘For the duration of the emergency situation, entering forests is strictly forbidden for the population’, and punishable by fines of up to 100,000 rubles ($2,800)’, locals were warned in Buryatia.
Wildfires are raging in ten district of Buryatia, including in the Trans-Baikal national park and the Barguzin wildlife reserve, it was reported.