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  Friday, November 22, 2019
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The forest fires continuing near the towns of Alupka in Crimea have spread close to the mountain ridge
The forest fires continuing near the towns of Alupka in Crimea have spread close to the mountain ridge. If the fires cross the mountain ridge it will be necessary to evacuate residents from many settlements there, a representative of the Ukrainian Ministry for Emergency Situations told Tass on Monday. On Monday morning the Ukrainian Ministry for Emergency Situations reported that the spread of fires had been confined and that settlements located in the emergency zone were not in jeopardy. The fires are ravaging in the area of 70 hectares near Alupka. Almost a 700-strong fire-fighting contingent of the Ukrainian Ministry for Emergency Situations has been extinguishing the flames for three days. All efforts to put out the flames quickly have been to no avail because of strong winds. Three more helicopters and a fire-fighting plane have been used for fire fighting on Monday. The water-dumping plane An-32P and three helicopters of the emergencies ministry equipped to take in seawater joined the battle against the wildfire. Another team of a hundred workers of the Emergencies Situations Ministry is arriving in the Crimea soon from Ukraine’s southern areas as Ukrainian Minister for Emergency Situations Nestor Shufrich ordered. Shufrich believes that the most important thing now is to prevent the fires from overlapping onto the other side of the mountain ridge. Otherwise, the fires might reach settlements, he warned. " It is the worst forest fire in Ukraine since 1993," the minister said. An official death toll from the fires is two victims yet, including a 42- year old worker of a local forestry farm and his wife who failed to escape to a safe distance from the flames and died of being poisoned by fire fumes. Their death has been officially confirmed. A 29-year-old tourist from the city of Kharkov, who lit a bonfire at dusk Friday to make him seen by rescuers, has been blamed as "unintentional arsonist". The flames spread instantaneously over an area of several hundred square meters. When mountainous rescue workers finally spotted the unlucky tourist the blaze was already threatening his life. On Sunday afternoon, the fire embraced a forest area of over 74 hectares. Although the authorities brought more than a thousand rescuers and 39 pieces of fire fighting equipment the mountainous terrain impeded the efforts severely. To make things worse strong winds with the wind force of around 70 kilometers per hour have been bringing the flames closer to the Alupka resort.
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