Forest Fires Spread in Remote Siberia, Russian Far East

Heavy smoke covers the center of the eastern Siberian city of Chita, Russia, Thursday, Aug. 1, 2019, as Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev visits the region. (AP Photo)

MOSCOW (AP) — Russian officials say forest fires are spreading in remote areas of Siberia and the Far East that firefighters cannot reach.

Avialesookhrana, Russia’s aerial forest protection service, said Thursday more than 30,000 square kilometers (11,850 square miles) are on fire, with the vast majority in areas that are hard to reach and where potential damage is likely to be less than the cost of fighting them.

Although the fires have not hit populated areas, heavy smoke from them is affecting about 800 communities, officials said, including the large cities of Novosibirsk, Krasnoyarsk and Chita.

Meteorologists say rain is expected in some of the burning areas, but not enough to put out the fires, state news agency Tass reported.

Heavy smoke covers the center of the eastern Siberian city of Chita, Russia, Thursday, Aug. 1, 2019, as Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev visits the region. Russian authorities have declared a state of emergency in five areas, including all of the Irkutsk and Krasnoyarsk regions, which lie north of Mongolia. (AP Photo)

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev attends a meeting in Chita, Russia, Thursday, Aug. 1, 2019, with local government and Russian Emergency situations Ministry officials to discuss the wildfires in the region. Russian authorities have declared a state of emergency in five areas, including all of the Irkutsk and Krasnoyarsk regions, which lie north of Mongolia. (Alexander Astafyev, Sputnik, Government Pool Photo via AP)
This July 21, 2019 satellite image provided by NASA shows winds carrying individual plumes of smoke in Russia, center right, towards the southwest, mixing with a swirling storm system. As of Wednesday, July 31, 2019, forest fires that have engulfed nearly 30,000 square kilometers (11,580 square miles) of territory in Siberia and the Russian Far East _ an area the size of Belgium. (Joshua Stevens, VIIRS, NASA EOSDIS/LANCE, GIBS/Worldview, Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership, NASA Earth Observatory via AP)
This image made from video provided by RU-RTR Russian television channel shows a view of a forest fire in the Boguchansky district of the Krasnoyarsk region, Russia Far East, Wednesday, July 31, 2019. Russian President Vladimir Putin has ordered Russia’s military to join efforts to fight forest fires that have engulfed nearly 30,000 square kilometers (11,580 sq. miles) of territory in Siberia and the Russian Far East. (RU-RTR Russian Television via AP)
Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, center, walks with a presidential envoy in the Siberian region Sergey Menyaylo, right, and governor of Krasnoyarsk Region Alexander Uss upon his arrival at the airport near Krasnoyarsk, Russia, Wednesday, July 31, 2019. Russian President Vladimir Putin has ordered Russia’s military to join efforts to fight forest fires that have engulfed nearly 30,000 square kilometers (11,580 sq. miles) of territory in Siberia and the Russian Far East. (Yekaterina Shtukina, Sputnik, Government Pool Photo via AP)
This satellite image provided by Roscosmos Space Agency, taken on Sunday, July 21, 2019, shows forest fires in Krasnoyarsk region, Eastern Siberia, Russia. President Vladimir Putin has ordered Russia’s military to join efforts to fight forest fires that have engulfed nearly 30,000 square kilometers of territory in Siberia and the Russian Far East. (Roscosmos Space Agency via AP)

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