MOSCOW, May 5 (RIA Novosti) – Russian drones have started patrolling wildfire-prone areas in Western Siberia and the Far East to help combat the spread of fires, a spokesman for the Eastern Military District told RIA Novosti Monday.
"Unmanned aerial vehicle use will significantly increase the troops’ ability to discover wildfires and determine their direction of movement,” said Col. Alexander Gordeev, adding that drone surveillance of wildfires will also provide for timely warnings if the fire approaches military facilities.
Apart from 15 drones, over 7,400 troops and 11 Mi-8 helicopters are in a high state of readiness.
On Tuesday, three explosions rocked a military ammunition depot east of Russia’s Lake Baikal.
Seventeen people sought medical aid following the explosions, mainly with light wounds and skin burns. Some four hundred people were evacuated from the danger zone. A preliminary investigation indicated that the explosions may have been caused by a forest fire.
The incident is the latest in a string of fires and explosions at munitions storage and disposal sites in the country over the past two years. There were two fatal explosions of stockpiled ammunition in Russia last year, down from five the previous year.