Wildfires destroy over 400 homes in Siberia

Wildfires swept through several villages in Siberia, burning down over 400 homes on Wednesday, Russia’s Emergencies Ministry said, following a wave of blazes that killed over 50 people earlier in the summer.

No casualties were reported from the flames in the Altai region bordering Kazakhstan that followed wildfires which killed 54 in central Russia in July and August, during Russia’s worst heat wave since records began 130 years ago.

Emergencies ministry spokeswoman Irina Andrianova told RIA news agency that 433 homes were torched in one village, Nikolayevka, 15 km from the Kazakh border, leaving 1,166 people without shelter.

The wildfires originated from Kazakhstan, the ministry website said, amid strong gusts of wind.

President Dmitry Medvedev pledged compensation for the victims and ordered the Altai regional governor to determine which officials were responsible for the failure to prevent the fire-driven devastation, the Kremlin’s press office said.

Some 250 workers were mobilised to put out the blazes, Ms Andrianova said.

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