Russian Firefighters Overwhelmed by Siberian Wildfires

Members of Russia’s Aerial Forest Protection Service spent their past weeks of July evening patrolling a five-kilometer trench excavated near the village of Byas-Kyuel to keep a wildfire at bay.

Yegor Zakharov, a member of the Aerial Forest Protection Service, said that they held one property for eight days, but it burned in the end because the tractors never got to them.

As Yakutia struggles through yet another increasing wildfire season, the team has lost track of how many blazes they’ve put out since late May— mostly successfully, sometimes not.

About 1.88 million hectares (4.6 million acres) of forest were burning in Russia on Monday, an area more significant than the state of Connecticut in the United States.

According to Avialesookhrana, the organization in charge of the endeavor, more than 5,000 regular firemen are working. Still, the size is so huge, and the territory is so large that 55 percent of the flames aren’t being battled at all.

There were also volunteers to help put out the wildfire.

Denis Markov, an instructor at a base for paratrooper firefighters in Tomsk, working with some of the volunteers, said the volunteers have been doing a great job.

“The guys (volunteers) are doing a great job. Their help is significant because the area and distances are quite large, so the more people there are, the more effective our efforts are to control the fires,” he said.

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