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Wildfires in Russia’s Siberia could endanger a power plant

July 19, 2021 GMT
Volunteers and employees of the Yakutlesresurs extinguish a forest fire outside Magaras village 87 km. (61 miles) west of Yakustk, the capital of the republic of Sakha also known as Yakutia, Russia Far East, Sunday, July 18, 2021. Russia has been plagued by widespread forest fires, blamed on unusually high temperatures and the neglect of fire safety rules, with the Sakha-Yakutia region in northeastern Siberia being the worst affected. (AP Photo/Alexey Vasilyev)
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Volunteers and employees of the Yakutlesresurs extinguish a forest fire outside Magaras village 87 km. (61 miles) west of Yakustk, the capital of the republic of Sakha also known as Yakutia, Russia Far East, Sunday, July 18, 2021. Russia has been plagued by widespread forest fires, blamed on unusually high temperatures and the neglect of fire safety rules, with the Sakha-Yakutia region in northeastern Siberia being the worst affected. (AP Photo/Alexey Vasilyev)
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Volunteers and employees of the Yakutlesresurs extinguish a forest fire outside Magaras village 87 km. (61 miles) west of Yakustk, the capital of the republic of Sakha also known as Yakutia, Russia Far East, Sunday, July 18, 2021. Russia has been plagued by widespread forest fires, blamed on unusually high temperatures and the neglect of fire safety rules, with the Sakha-Yakutia region in northeastern Siberia being the worst affected. (AP Photo/Alexey Vasilyev)

MOSCOW (AP) — A large wildfire in Russia’s Siberia region Monday is burning near a village and posing a threat to a hydroelectric power plant Monday, local officials said.

A total of 216 forest fires remained active in the Sakha-Yakutia region in northeastern Siberia on Monday morning, the region’s Ministry of Natural Resources said. Heavy smoke covered more than 60 cities, towns and settlements, including the regional capital Yakutsk.

One blaze that already had engulfed 41,300 hectares (102,000 acres) was just four kilometers away from the village of Syuldyukar, the ministry said. A hydroelectric power plant is located about 20 kilometers away from the village, it said.

More than 2,000 people have been involved in the firefighting efforts in the region.

Russia has been plagued by widespread forest fires, blamed on unusually high temperatures and the neglect of fire safety rules.

The airport in Yakutsk suspended flights into and out of the city on Sunday because of the smoke-filled skies but resumed operations on Monday.