Russia battles Siberian wildfires, forest blaze grows

In Yakutia - the region largely affected by the wildfires - there are 216 wildfires on the total area of 1,562,252.1 hectares, the ministry said. The actively firing area is 2 199.1 hectares.

Driven by powerful and unpredictable gusts of wind, the flames spread rapidly, endangering human settlements.

Smoke from wildfires also covered the Siberian city of Yakutsk on Sunday (July 18) where people were advised by the mayor to stay home and not open windows as the region fights unprecedented blazes the Kremlin blames on climate change.

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