The Russian region of Ryazan, around 250 kilometres east of Moscow, has made an announcement on Monday that it had instituted a state of emergency to deal with forest fires that have devastated more than 8,000 hectares (ha) in recent days.
Acting Governor Pavel Malkov said that this measure would “mobilise more resources to protect residents and territory.”
“The area crossed by the fire continues to increase slowly,” he added, indicating that, according to the aerial forest surveillance service, between 8,000 and 9,000 ha. had been affected.
As per the authorities, “the active combustion surface” was 146 ha. on Monday.
For its part, the NGO Greenpeace estimated, based on satellite images, that at least 11,000 ha. had been affected.
Last week, smoke from the fires, which had been burning for days, finally blanketed parts of the city of Moscow, prompting a strong response from authorities. On Monday, the mayor of the capital, Sergei Sobyanin, visited the affected area. In a statement on Telegram, he said 8,500 persons and 200 additional pieces of equipment would be deployed to put out the fire.
Earlier, the regional authorities had shown that 900 people, seven planes and ten helicopters had been deployed. Sobyanin stressed that the area was “not very accessible,” so mainly planes and helicopters had to be used. However, he also said “firefighters are making their way to the seat of the fires with bulldozers and heavy machinery.”