Three Die as Raging Fires Consume Swaths of Russia's Urals

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Officials said that at least three people died as a result of raging fires in the Urals Mountains of Russia. The fires destroyed hundreds of homes, forced evacuations, and prompted a number investigations.

Alexander Kurenkov, Minister for Emergency Situations in Russia's South, flew early Monday to the Kurgan Region where wildfires are spreading to several settlements.

Kurenkov wrote on Telegram that "a difficult situation has emerged."

The Kurgan region’s investigative panel opened a criminal probe into a massive fire on Sunday that claimed three lives and destroyed many houses and businesses.

The committee stated in a website statement that "the spread of the flames was possible because of potential negligence by responsible officials."

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The Russian state news agency TASS reported that six of the thirteen wildfires were contained.

In the Urals, massive fires also consumed the Sverdlovsk area and, south of it the Tyumen Region.

The fire in a gunpowder storage depot that forced the evacuation a small village from the Sverdlovsk Region was put out by Sunday night.

The regional ministry for emergency situations reported that 53 more fires are still burning, covering over 33,000 hectares of forest (127 square miles).

According to SOTA, an independent news website, some fires in Sverdlovsk were caused by explosions or arson. Reuters could not independently verify this report.

A fire in Sverdlovsk region, which is of unknown origin, caused the death of one person and the displacement of hundreds.

TASS reported that more than 120 houses were destroyed on Sunday in two small towns in the Tyumen area, citing local emergency services.