Above: Fires in Russia detected by a NASA satellite September 28, 2016.
Many wildfires are burning in eastern Siberia, creating massive amounts of smoke. Greenpeace reports that last week almost 5 million acres were involved. The fires have forced school closures in Bratsk and Ust-Kut in the Irkutsk region where thousands of children have been sent home according to local media.
The wreckage of the Russian air tanker that was reported missing in Siberia on July 1 has been found. Rescuers found the debris of the Ilyushin IL-76 plane at approximately 2 a.m. Moscow time in the Kachug District, 9 km southeast of the settlement of Rybny Uyan.
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From the air the in the smoky conditions in the forest the only recognizable part of the aircraft was the tail.
Initially there were conflicting reports on the number of personnel on board, ranging from 9 to 11, but Russian authorities on Sunday confirmed there were 10. The remains of six and one flight recorder have been located. Marines are clearing an area to be used as a helispot.
Below is an excerpt from an article in the New Indian Express:
…A Russian aviation agencies source told TASS news agency that the plane most likely lost control because of interference from hot air from the wildfire that it was trying to douse with water.
“It’s possible that hot air from the wildfires got into the engines, the plane lost propulsion and could not gain altitude, hit the top of the trees and fell,” the source was quoted as saying.
The plane’s tail was discovered by another firefighter on today morning, said the Russian forestry agency’s aviation unit.
Last week another firefighter died on duty in Russia’s far-eastern Kamchatka region, the regional government revealed.
The forestry agency’s aviation unit said today that over 43 thousand hectares of forest land is burning in Russia, mostly in Siberia.
But Russia’s Greenpeace which monitors wildfires via satellite data said government figures are vastly underestimated, with 415 thousand hectares burning in Irkutsk region alone.
A very large air tanker that had been working on a wildfire in Siberia is missing. The IL-76, which can carry up to 15,000 U.S. gallons, had 11 on board, including “fire-fighting experts”, according to a report by Tass.
The air tanker departed at 5:34 a.m. Moscow time on Friday to assist firefighters on a fire in the Kachugsky district of the Irkutsk region. The crew did not make radio contact as planned at 6:30 a.m. Moscow time.
A search is underway assisted by two helicopters and an Antonov An-12 and An-26 of the Russian Aerospace Forces.
The crew members of the missing Il-76 plane are from Moscow and they have accumulated huge fire-fighting experience, a source in emergency services told TASS. “The crew members have a huge experience of fire-fighting operations, delivery of humanitarian relief supplies and other air rescue missions,” the source said.
We can’t confirm that two UR-77 Meteorit missile-firing mine clearing vehicles were actually used to help control a wildfire in Siberia, but that is the report. The missile may be towing detonation cord, which is sometimes used by wildland firefighters to build fireline or to fell a dangerous snag.
In this undated photo taken from the site of the Ministry for Emergency Situations, on Sunday, April 12, 2015, a firefighter extinguishes a wildfire in Khakassia. The government of the Siberian region reports that more than 70 people have been injured by agricultural fires that got out of control and swept through 20 towns and villages. The fires were started by farmers burning the grass in their fields, but they spread quickly because of strong winds. The government of Khakassia has called on all residents to help put out the fires, which on Sunday destroyed 118 homes in 21 towns and villages.
Reuters reports that four people have been killed by the fires in southern Siberia.