Wildfires in Russia have killed 25 people including 2 firefighters, and destroyed over 1,000 homes. Some reports say three firefighters died in the fires. Temperatures in the region are much higher than normal with the high in Moscow on Thursday of 102 Fahrenheit setting a record for the highest ever recorded since records began in 1879. The month of July is expected to break the record for the hottest month ever recorded in Moscow.
Presidential advisor Viktor Ishayev slammed the lack of surveillance of forests from the air. It had been apparent in the last few days that the fires were spreading rapidly, Ishayev said, according to the news agency Itar-Tass. But authorities had failed to act, he said.
[Russian Prime Minister Vladimir] Putin also criticised their lack of preparation. There would be harsh consequences for the neglectful behaviour of the authorities, he said.
Putin assessed the situation:
I recommend the resignation of the heads of regions [devastated by fire] who have to a significant degree lost the trust of citizens.
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev called for the immediate construction of housing for those left homeless by the fires.
Russian Regional Development Minister Viktor Basargin said anyone who had lost their home as a result of the fires would receive a new one by year end.
The ministry has dispatched additional firefighting units and 16 aircraft and helicopters to fight wildfires in five regions of central Russia.
Earlier on Friday, Medvedev ordered the government to take urgent additional measures to fight the fires and to allocate funds for damage compensation. Medvedev has also called for proposals to be drawn up on the purchase of additional firefighting equipment, including Be-200 aircraft.