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Firefighters Battle Major Blazes In Russia, Southeastern Europe, Turkey


Firefighters battle a wildfire in Yakutia on August 3.
Firefighters battle a wildfire in Yakutia on August 3.

Unusually high summer temperatures and strong winds have stoked deadly 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, fed by hot air from North Africa, has led to wildfires from the Mediterranean coast of Turkey to the Balkans.

In Bulgaria, two forestry workers were killed and another one was injured on August 4 as forest fires multiply across the country.

Two people also died in forest fires in Albania and Kosovo.

Extreme weather across southern Europe has fueled wildfires in Greece, Turkey, Italy, Albania, Kosovo, and across the Mediterranean region.

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