Fires in Siberia kill at least 8 people as flames fan out from ‘high winds’ | News

Temporary shelters with medical and psychological support services are open for people in the most affected areas.

At least eight people have died in blazes in Russia’s eastern Krasnoyarsk region of Siberia, where flames ripped through villages and high winds hampered efforts to put out the blazes.

Due to the ferocity of the forest fires, the Krasnoyarsk region has declared a state of emergency.

The fires have spread to several villages in 12 districts in the region, Russian news agency Interfax reported on Saturday, citing the regional disaster management agency.

Three people, including two children, are believed to have died in fires in the village of Talashanka, about 200 kilometers (124 miles) north of the big city of Krasnoyarsk, and two people were killed in the village of Nikolsk, 300 kilometers (186 miles) west of Krasnoyarsk.

Vehicles drive along a road covered in smoke from forest fires in the Siberian city of Krasnoyarsk, Russia, May 7, 2022 [Alexander Manzyuk/Reuters]

Investigators from the Kemerovo region said that the burned bodies of three people were found in a residential building in the locality of Tyazhinsky, where more than 50 houses caught fire.

Homes and farm buildings on fire were reported in many other localities.

Krasnoyarsk regional governor Alexander Uss said strong winds of up to 40 meters per second (131 feet per second) downed trees and power lines across large swathes of the region, sparking the fires against which 300 firefighters supported by 90 vehicles were fighting.

“We have called for help from neighboring territories, but are aware that at best they will not arrive for a few hours,” Uss said.

Temporary shelters are being opened for people in the worst affected areas with medical and psychological support units also being made available.

“I gave the order to cut off electricity in part of the area – except for life support facilities, petrol stations and water supply systems,” he said.

“Extinguisher [the fires] is complicated by weather conditions – strong winds fan the flames and prevent their extinction,” the regional emergency ministry said on Telegram.

“The planes cannot be used to fight fires due to the strong wind load,” Krasnoyarsk’s emergency service said on its Telegram channel.

He posted video footage showing the sky darkened by smoke, with rescuers buffeted by strong gusts as they tackled a number of fires in rural areas with mostly wooden buildings.

The Federal Forestry Agency said shorts in power lines caused 350 homes to burn and high winds exacerbated the situation, TASS news agency reported.

Smoke from forest fires blankets the Siberian city of Krasnoyarsk, Russia, May 7, 2022 [Alexander Manzyuk/Reuters]
Smoke from forest fires blankets the Siberian city of Krasnoyarsk, Russia, May 7, 2022 [Alexander Manzyuk/Reuters]

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