Firefighters Get Help From Russian Military To Battle Major Blazes In Yakutia.

Unusually high summer temperatures and strong winds have stoked wildfires in parts of Russia, Turkey, and Southeastern Europe, causing hundreds of millions of dollars in damage and prompting the evacuation of thousands of people.

Pushed to the limit, Russian emergency services received additional help from the military to fight devastating forest fires in the east of the country.

The Russian Defense Ministry said on August 4 that additional technical equipment would be delivered to the isolated Siberian Republic of Sakha, also known as Yakutia.

Authorities say 173 fires are still raging in the region and that the situation remains difficult.

More than 2,500 members of the emergency forces are trying to prevent flames from spreading to several villages where thick smoke is blanketing the region.

Firefighting efforts in Yakutia covered a region of more than 8,000 square kilometers, authorities said.
Fires destroy huge swaths of wild forests in Russia every year, with environmental activists blaming a worsening situation on climate change.

A heat wave across southern Europe has led to wildfires in Greece, Turkey, Italy, Albania, Kosovo, and across the Mediterranean region.

Radio Free Europe

RFE/RL journalists report the news in 22 countries where a free press is banned by the government or not fully established, including Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Russia.

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