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Foreign countries join firefighting in Russia

08-09-2010 10:07 BJT Special Report:Forest Fires Ravage Russia |

MOSCOW, Aug. 8 (Xinhua) -- As blazing hotspots across Russia reached nearly 600 on Saturday, more countries are sending aircraft, firetrucks and personnel to help Russia battle the blazes.

During a telephone conversation with Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin earlier on Saturday, French Prime Minister Francois Fillon said that France would assist Russia in tackling the wildfire and send a plane to the disaster scenes.

Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi also offered help. Three Italian jets, which arrived in Moscow on Thursday, have already joined operation in the Moscow region, the Russian Emergency Situations Ministry said.

Two Italian firefighting amphibious planes arrived on Saturday in the Samara region on the Volga River. They will help save a natural preserve engulfed by fires.

In a letter to Putin, Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk said that his country was ready to "render comprehensive aid in dealing with the wildfire and the aftermath."

Poland has dispatched a team of 155 firefighters to Russia, according to RIA Novosti news agency. A convoy of 50 firefighting vehicles headed to Russian border via Lithuania and Latvia on Saturday.

Five former Soviet republics, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhztan, Ukraine and Belarus have also joined Russia's efforts to put off the wildfire, local media reported.

Two Armenian jets were dispatched to the Nizhny Novgorod region, where the worst fire was reported.

While two Azeri planes were assigned to the Lipetsk region, two Kazakh helicopters were assisting firefighters in the Samara region.

Two Ukrainian firefighting units joined two Ukrainian An-32 jets in the Voronezh region.

Belarus sent a helicopter and 150 firefighters to the Ryazan and Vladimir regions and promised to dispatch another 20 firefighting vehicles.

The areas under fire in central Russia has increased to 190,000 hectares, RIA Novosti reported Sunday.

According to the ScanEx website which receives information from NASA's Terra and Aqua satellites, a total of 564 wildfire scenes were detected across Russia, up from 362 on Friday.

A reinforcement of 1,000 people and 200 units of firefighting equipment was sent to smother wildfire which seized Moscow region, the head of the Ministry's National crisis control center said on Saturday.

Moscow saw its worst air pollution in 2010 on Saturday, with carbon monoxide levels 6.5 times as much as the maximum allowable concentration. The concentration of other poisonous substances in the air was nine times above the normal level.

The already scorching temperature is expected to reach 40 Celsius degrees in the coming weekend in central and southern Russia.

Editor:Jin Lin |Source:

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