Almost 200 wildfires burn in Russia

MOSCOW, May 21 (UPI) -- Almost 200 wildfires were burning in Russia Saturday, the Emergencies Ministry said.

Sixteen of the fires were considered major, ITAR-Tass reported. Most of them were in the Urals, Siberia and the Far East with a total of more than 20,000 acres involved.


The ministry had mobilized a force of 11 firefighting helicopters and planes.

In 2010, western Russia was hit by devastating wildfires. The worst blazes began in mid-July as the region endured the hottest summer in recorded history.

The fires killed hundreds of people, charred millions of acres and destroyed hundreds of homes, effectively wiping some villages off the map. In addition to deaths caused directly by fire, smoke blanketing the Moscow region is believed to have been responsible for a death rate about twice the normal one.

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