Many fires aggravated by strong winds are underway in the Krasnoyarsk region (Eastern Siberia), affecting hundreds of buildings and killing at least five people, local authorities said on Saturday May 7.

"The fire is spreading to more than 16 inhabited areas, about 200 buildings, several sawmills, a kindergarten are burning, there are already deaths," the Ministry of Emergency Situations of this region said on Telegram.

State of emergency declared

So far, five dead have been counted.

Describing the situation as "difficult", the authorities declared a state of emergency in the region.

Authorities say around 300 people and more than 90 vehicles are involved in putting out the fires.

“Extinguishing is complicated by weather conditions. High winds accelerate the spread of fires and make it difficult to put an end to them,” the local ministry added.

After holding an emergency meeting, the governor of the region, Alexandre Ourss, said in a statement that the fires had been caused by winds reaching in some regions 40 meters per second, against the 25 m / s expected.

falling trees

This wind would have caused "falling trees, overlapping and falling power lines", as a result of which "fires broke out simultaneously in many areas of the Krasnoyarsk Territory".

Winds are expected to remain at this intensity for "at least 4 to 6 hours," the governor's office said.

"We have asked for help from our neighboring territories but we are aware that it will only happen in the best case in a few hours," said Alexandre Ourss.

“I gave the order to cut off the electricity in part of the territory of the region, except for survival facilities, gas stations and water supply systems,” he said. added.

In the most affected areas, "temporary accommodation points will be opened and people will benefit from medical and psychological assistance".

Unprecedented fires have been ravaging Siberia for several years.

In 2021, fires, particularly in eastern Siberia, released 16 million tonnes of carbon (the fourth highest volume since the start of measurements in 2003), according to the annual European climate report.

With AFP

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