Five dead in wind-whipped Siberia fires

Five dead in wind-whipped Siberia fires

Five dead in wind-whipped Siberia fires

Five dead in wind-whipped Siberia fires

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Several fires broke out in southern Siberia on Saturday, affecting over 200 buildings and killed at least five people, according to local officials who issued a state of emergency.

The flames in the Krasnoyarsk region extended to some sawmills and a children’s playground, according to the regional emergency ministry on Telegram.

Regional governor Alexandre Uss said high winds of up to 40 metres per second, had brought down trees and power lines across large swathes of the region, sparking the fires which authorities said 300 firemen backed by 90 vehicles were fighting.

“We have called for help from neighboring territories but are aware that will in the best case not arrive for some hours,” said Uss, adding temporary shelters were being opened for people in the worst-hit areas with medical and psychological support units also being made available.

“I have given the order to cut off electricity in part of the region — save for survival facilities, service stations and water supply systems,” he said.

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“Extinguishing (the fires) is being complicated by meteorological conditions — violent winds are fanning the flames and preventing them from being put out,” the ministry stated.

For many years, Siberia has been plagued by large-scale fires. According to an annual European climate study, they emitted 16 million tonnes of carbon into the atmosphere last year.

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