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Wildfires In Siberia Kill At Least 23 People

Authorities have blamed the fires on human carelessness combined with warm temperatures and strong winds.

Last updated on July 3, 2018, at 1:13 p.m. ET

Posted on April 14, 2015, at 11:20 a.m. ET

Wildfires in eastern Siberia have killed at least 23 people over the past few days, the BBC reported.

Evgeny Yepanchintsev / AP

An estimated 5,000 people have been left homeless as the flames engulfed dozens of villages in the eastern region of Khakassia over the weekend, ABC News reported.

Evgeny Yepanchintsev / AP

Authorities said human carelessness – with local farmers burning dry grass amid hot temperatures and strong winds – sparked the fire, according to the Agence France-Presse.

Evgeny Yepanchintsev / AP

In the city of Chita, visibility was reported to have been reduced to 660-990 feet as smoke from the fire intensified, according to the BBC.

Viktor Zimin, the leader of the Khakassia region, told Reuters the fires have caused $96 million in damages so far.

Evgeny Yepanchintsev / AP

Wildfires in the warmer months are a common occurrence in Russia. During the country's worst ever heatwave in 2010, the capital, Moscow, became engulfed in a blanket of smoke. At the time scientists said the death rate in the city increased by 50%, according to The Guardian newspaper.

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