The area covered by wildfires in Russia, mostly in Siberia and the Far East, stood at 8,600 hectares, with dozens of houses destroyed in a village in the Amur region on Friday, emergency officials said.
Some 120 residents of the village of Tygda were evacuated due to the fires, which destroyed 75 of 1,200 buildings, the Far Eastern branch of the Emergency Situations Ministry said. Earlier reports said no one was injured, but emergency officials said on Friday evening one local resident was found dead in the burnt rubble and one was hospitalized.
Three fire trains were deployed to fight the blaze in Tygda, which hosts an oil base, rescuers said.
Elsewhere in the Far East, 10 summer homes burned in the Zaozernoye village in the Khabarovsk region on Friday, regional emergency officials said. No one was harmed.
The dry winter, the early onset of warm weather and strong winds, as well as the locals’ habit of burning away old grass in the spring have resulted in an unusual amount of wildfires across Siberia and the Far East this month.
A total of 111 fires were reported as of late Thursday, First Deputy Prime Minister Viktor Zubkov said on Friday. He lambasted regional officials for neglecting the firefighting work.
The total area covered by wildfires in Russia in 2012 stood at 100,000 hectares, 2.7 times more than in the same period of 2011, the Federal Forestry Agency said.
In 2010, central Russia was blanketed by wildfires, which covered some 200,000 hectares of land and filled many cities, including Moscow, with acrid smog.