(Moscow) Major forest fires in three regions of Russia have killed at least one person, authorities announced on Monday, facing a heat wave in this country particularly exposed to the consequences of climate change.
A 49-year-old man died while trying to put out a fire near the village of Krasniy Iar in the Tyumen region, the regional administration said.
A state of emergency has been declared in this Siberian region, Governor Alexandre Moor announced. Twelve wildfires were active Monday morning, covering more than 1,100 hectares, according to the TASS news agency.
“The situation is aggravated by the weather: it is hot, dry, with a lot of wind. Gusts spread fire hundreds of meters in seconds,” Moor said.
Forest fires start earlier in Russia in recent years, favored by early heat. According to the authorities, they are triggered mainly during barbecues in the countryside, very popular among Russians, or during clearing fires denounced by the public authorities.
The Minister of Emergency Situations, Alexander Kurenkov, went to the Kurgan region (Urals), 1600 kilometers east of Moscow. In a statement, he said nine fires, of the 13 currently active in the region, had been “fixed”.
The minister and the local governor “informed the president (Putin) by telephone about the situation, potential threats and measures taken to protect the population,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters.
Unusual heat reaching up to 30° and strong winds also favored the fires in this region, according to Alexander Kurenkov. Some 1,300 people and 330 machines, including planes, are deployed on site.
Nearly 65 outbreaks of forest fires over a much larger area, up to 54,000 hectares, are also hitting the neighboring region of Sverdlovsk (Urals), according to information provided Monday morning by the authorities.
This situation prompted volunteers to intervene, in support of the firefighters, to deliver water.
“Residents who are not indifferent bring water […] Then cars arrive, we load everything quickly and the water is brought directly to the fire,” Igor Rousinov, coordinator of the fire, told AFP. a volunteer organization.
Yuri Bouts, a resident living in an area affected by the fires, said he had never seen this: “Two days ago, in the evening, we started to smell smoke, fires were breaking out here and there. »