Wildfires in Russia's Siberia could endanger a power plant

Russia has been plagued by widespread forest fires, blamed on unusually high temperatures and the neglect of fire safety rules.

A large wildfire in Russia’s Siberia region on Monday is burning near a village and posing a threat to a hydroelectric power plant, local officials said.

A total of 216 forest fires remained active in the Sakha-Yakutia region in northeastern Siberia on Monday morning, the region’s Ministry of Natural Resources said. Heavy smoke covered more than 60 cities, towns and settlements, including the regional capital Yakutsk.

One blaze that already had engulfed 41,300 hectares was just four kilometers away from the village of Syuldyukar, the ministry said. A hydroelectric power plant is located about 20 kilometers away from the village, it said.

More than 2,000 people have been involved in the firefighting efforts in the region.

Russia has been plagued by widespread forest fires, blamed on unusually high temperatures and the neglect of fire safety rules.

The airport in Yakutsk suspended flights into and out of the city on Sunday because of the smoke-filled skies but resumed operations on Monday.

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