Firefighting aircraft begin extinguishing wildfires in South Siberia
Firefighting aircraft of the Russian emergencies ministry on Thursday started to put out wildfires on the Kazakh-Russian border, the region's government said, RIA Novosti reported.
A Be-200 amphibious aircraft, two Mi-26 and two Mi-8 helicopters arrived to the disaster-hit area from the Siberian city of Krasnoyarsk. Moscow has sent two Il-76 planes to assist in firefighting effort.
Earlier on Wednesday, wildfires crossed the Russian-Kazakh border and almost completely destroyed the village of Nikolayevka in the Altai Territory. According to preliminary information, 443 homes have already been completely destroyed and 1,166 people were evacuated from the village.
The fire, which spread rapidly in the storm wind on Wednesday, stopped spreading towards populated areas at the moment as the wind changed direction, the region's emergencies service said.
Russian Interior Minister Rashid Nurgaliyev ordered local police on Wednesday to prevent public order violations and looting in the affected areas.
"We must provide public security in places where the evacuated persons will stay, and in fire-affected settlements, to avoid looting," he said.
Over 700 people are involved in firefighting efforts, the region's emergencies ministry said.
A spokesman for the Siberian Military District said the wildfires pose no threat to military facilities in the area.
Kazakhstan has granted Russia's Emergencies Ministry permission to extinguish wildfires on its territory, where six potentially dangerous wildfires were registered as of Wednesday evening morning. The country's emergencies ministry said two of its helicopters were putting out fires in the area.