Russian authorities have begun evacuating two villages in the vast region of Siberia, where 155 active forest fires blazed on Sunday.
Fires threaten a dozen villages in northeastern Siberia in the Sakha-Yakutia Republic, according to the regional emergency response team. Local authorities are relocating residents of two villages, Kalvitsa and Kharyyalakh, to other settlements, and teams of 3,600 people are working to contain about half of the fires.
On Saturday, flames destroyed 31 houses and eight outbuildings in the village of Byas-Kyuel, and about 400 residents were evacuated, local officials said, euronews reported.
The governor of Yakutia, Aisen Nikolaev, ordered officials to create fire glades of dead wood and fallen trees around the populated areas under threat of fires.
In recent years, high temperatures have been recorded in Russia, which many scientists believe are the result of climate change. Hot weather, coupled with disregard for fire safety regulations, has led to an increasing number of fires.
Experts also blame the decision to disband the Federal Aviation Surveillance Service in 2007, which was responsible for detecting and fighting forest fires, for the deterioration of the fire situation. The service's property was transferred to regional authorities, which drew sharp criticism and led to a rapid reduction in firefighting forces.
Forests covering vast areas of Russia make detecting new fires a challenge.