SOURCE: EuroNews

DATE: August 1, 2019

SNIP: President Vladimir Putin has ordered the Russian army to take part in fire-fighting efforts in Siberia as environmentalists describe the blazes raging across the region as an ecological catastrophe.

The government claims the fires pose no danger to communities, but people are starting to suffer from the effects of smoke.

A series of enormous wildfires have spread across Russia’s eastern region of Siberia, prompting states of emergency to be declared and sparking outrage from locals who say authorities aren’t responding enough.

The fires, which have been burning for several weeks, have spread across almost 3 million hectares of land, the Federal Forestry Agency has said.

That’s an area almost the size of Belgium.

States of emergencies have been declared across five regions in response to the fires, which have burned more than a million hectares each in the worst-affected areas of the Sakha Republic and Krasnoyarsk.