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    Russia to install firefighting gear on Il-76 military planes

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    The Russian Air Force will install firefighting equipment on its Il-76 military transport planes, the force commander said on Wednesday.

    The Russian Air Force will install firefighting equipment on its Il-76 military transport planes, the force commander said on Wednesday.

    Col. Gen. Alexander Zelin said this would enable an Il-76 to dump up to 40 tons of water on a fire from the air.

    "I believe that fires should be fought by massive efforts," he said, adding that "a simultaneous dumping of around 300 tons of water is [especially] effective."

    The government has come under criticism for its ability to respond adequately to the fires, and several foreign countries sent planes to help the firefighting efforts.

    Prime Minister Vladimir Putin on Tuesday took part in extinguishing wildfires in Ryazan Region on board an amphibious firefighting airplane. He dumped approximately 24 tons of water from aboard a Be-200 amphibious firefighting plane on forest fires some 200 kilometers southeast of Moscow, extinguishing two of them completely.

    Wildfires, sparked by weeks of abnormally high temperatures in central Russia and the worst drought since the 1970s, have severely damaged the Russian economy, with estimated short-term losses of $15 billion.

    ZARYA (Moscow Region), August 11 (RIA Novosti) 

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