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Wildfires Sweep Through Russia's Baikal Region

Forest fires are raging in the Irkutsk region of Siberia, on the islands and shores of Lake Baikal. Volunteer firefighters are trying hard to stop the damage, but high winds are working against them. An area as large as 100,000 acres is thought to be affected. (Photos by Petr Shelomovskiy, RFE/RL's Current Time TV)


A fire rages on Olkhon Island, the largest island in Lake Baikal.
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A fire rages on Olkhon Island, the largest island in Lake Baikal.

Volunteer Anton Volkov flies a small plane over Olkhon Island to assess the damage.
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Volunteer Anton Volkov flies a small plane over Olkhon Island to assess the damage.

Smoke fills a valley on Olkhon Island.
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Smoke fills a valley on Olkhon Island.

Konstantin Kozlov, the head of the local forest service, coordinates his rangers' emergency response. The affected area is estimated to be some 40,000 hectares, or 100,000 acres.  
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Konstantin Kozlov, the head of the local forest service, coordinates his rangers' emergency response. The affected area is estimated to be some 40,000 hectares, or 100,000 acres.
 

An emergency situation has been declared in Olkhon district.  
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An emergency situation has been declared in Olkhon district.
 

A forest ranger digs a trench meant to stop the fire from spreading.
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A forest ranger digs a trench meant to stop the fire from spreading.

Volunteer Anton Volkov walks near a smoldering patch of fire.
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Volunteer Anton Volkov walks near a smoldering patch of fire.

A firefighter races to cut down a burning tree before the fire spreads.
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A firefighter races to cut down a burning tree before the fire spreads.

Forest service head Konstantin Kozlov drives to another emergency site to check on the damage.
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Forest service head Konstantin Kozlov drives to another emergency site to check on the damage.

Forest rangers take a break by their truck amid the heat and hard work.
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Forest rangers take a break by their truck amid the heat and hard work.

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