Russia (Siberia): Khakassia wildfires leave at least 4 dead, 73 injured. Approx 100 houses in 21 villages on fire – Published 120415 1520z (GMT/UTC)

The government of a Siberian region reports that more than 70 people have been injured by agricultural fires that got out of control and swept through more than 20 towns and villages.

The fires were started by farmers burning the grass in their fields and they spread quickly because of strong winds. The government of Khakassia, a region in southeastern Siberia, has called on all residents to help put out the fires, which on Sunday destroyed 118 homes in 21 towns and villages.

The Defense Ministry and Emergencies Ministry said they were sending aircraft to help fight the fires. The state RIA Novosti news agency, quoting an Emergencies Ministry official, reported that firefighters were hampered by a shortage of water since the reservoirs were still covered with ice.

Sunday, 12 April, 2015 at 14:35 (02:35 PM) UTC RSOE

Press Reports

Two people died and 70 were hurt as a wildfire in Siberia caused by the burning of dry grass threatened villages, Russian officials said Sunday.

“Over 70 people asked for medical help, and two people died” as a fire raged in the Khakassia region of southern Siberia, the regional government said.

The emergency ministry said that they are using a plane, three fire trains and over 5,000 people to control the fire, but that strong winds are making this impossible.

“Over 100 houses in 21 villages are on fire,” the ministry said.

Two people were reported dead although authorities said the toll was “preliminary” until the exact cause of their deaths could be determined.

They called on “residents of the region to battle the fire, which began because of residents themselves after uncontrolled grass burning,” the ministry said on its website.

Spring and autumn burning of dry grass regularly results in massive wildfires that often cause extensive damage to homes and human life.

Wildfires in Russia in 2010 killed at least 60 people, destroyed over 3,000 homes and left Moscow shrouded in smoke. In 2012, fire destroyed 10 million hectares of Siberian forest, according to environmental groups.” – naharnet.com

Four killed by wildfires in Russia’s Siberia: TASS

“(Reuters) – Four people have been killed by wildfires raging though the grasslands of Russia’s Khakassia republic in southern Siberia, the TASS news agency reported on Sunday.

More than 20 villages and towns have been damaged by the fires that have been burning for several days in dry and windy weather, the Emergency Ministry said. Seventy-three people have suffered burns or smoke inhalation.

Two planes and a helicopter have been deployed, along with more than 1,000 firefighters.

Environmental activists say the occurrence of grassland wildfires in Russia has increased in recent years for various reasons, including rising temperatures.

(Reporting by Vladimir Soldatkin; Editing by Robin Pomeroy) ” – reuters.com

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