VBox7 logo

Russia: Tourists evacuated as EMERCOM battle firestorms at Lake Baikal

10 10.08.2015 Инфо

Officials from Russia's Ministry of Emergency Situations (EMERCOM) battled firestorms close to Lake Baikal, in the Irkutsk region, Monday. Several groups of tourists and local residents had to be evacuated from the area, with authorities advising people to abandon their homes as the fires, driven by strong winds, started endangering a number of resorts around the lake. At least 77 guests and 30 employees at a resort near Sandy Cove, on the western shore of the lake, were transported to the safety of Irkutsk by EMERCOM officials and tour operators. Many were taken away by boat as severe heat spots on roads leading to and from the lake made it dangerous to travel by car. On the eastern shore of Lake Baikal strong winds drove smoke clouds across a huge area of water and land. Currently there are seven major fires eating into thousands of hectares of woodland to the north, west and east of the Lake Baikal. Extremely dry weather, low levels of rainfall, temperatures approaching 40 degrees Celsius (100 degrees Fahrenheit) and strong winds are hampering efforts to control the flames. EMERCOM are currently water bombing many of the fires in the area and have already brought one of the major blazes under control.