Russia to investigate Siberia wildfires
August 2, 2019 - Russia’s military is assisting firefighting efforts as wildfires spread across Siberia. Police are investigating whether the fires were started deliberately to conceal illegal logging activity.
The wildfires cover 3.1 million hectares of mostly remote, uninhabited forest, the Federal Forestry Agency has said. This is an area as big as Belgium.
A state of emergency was earlier declared in the Irkutsk and Krasnoyarsk regions, two areas of the Republic of Buryatia and one area of the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia).
The Defence Ministry said 10 army transport planes and 10 helicopters had arrived in Krasnoyarsk, a day after President Vladimir Putin ordered the army to help firefighters battle the fires.
Greenpeace says the fires are an “ecological catastrophe”, and many
Russians are calling for authorities to take tougher action