Fires kill at least 8 in Siberia, high winds hamper extinguishing efforts
At least eight people died in Siberia on Saturday (May 7) as fires ripped through hundreds of buildings in several villages, with high winds hampering efforts to extinguish the blazes.
In the Krasnoyarsk region, about 3,000 km (1,900 miles) east of Moscow, fires killed five people in 16 settlements across the Kazachinskoe and Sharypovsky districts, the local branch of Russia's Investigative Committee said in a statement, leading it to launch criminal proceedings for causing death by negligence.
The local health ministry said 17 people had been hurt, with 11 of them taken to hospital, the TASS news agency reported.
The Federal Forestry Agency said short circuits in power lines had caused 350 houses to catch fire, and that strong winds had exacerbated the situation, TASS said.
Krasnoyarsk region's forestry minister Alexei Panov declared a state of emergency in the region because of what he called "technogenic fires."
The Federal Forestry Agency said short circuits in power lines had caused 350 houses to catch fire, and that strong winds had exacerbated the situation, the agency said in its statement.
"We have a really difficult situation at the Krasnoyarsk region territory. Most of all, because of meteorological events. Here is a hurricane-like wind. Wind speed reaches 20 meters per second," said Dmitry Selin, deputy head of Russia's Aerial Forest Protection Service.
The service later published footage of fires in wooded areas, all of which it said were quickly contained.
The Investigative Committee also reported fires in the neighbouring Khakassia region.
Slightly further west, investigators in the Kemerovo region also launched criminal proceedings and said the burnt bodies of three people had been found in a residential building in the Tyazhinsky locality, where over 50 houses had caught fire.
Both sets of investigators said work was continuing to determine the cause of the fires.