April 12, 2015 / 2:33 PM / 3 years ago

Four killed by wildfires in Russia's Siberia: TASS

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Four people have been killed by wildfires raging though the grasslands of Russia’s Khakassia republic in southern Siberia, the TASS news agency reported on Sunday.

More than 20 villages and towns have been damaged by the fires that have been burning for several days in dry and windy weather, the Emergency Ministry said. Seventy-three people have suffered burns or smoke inhalation.

Two planes and a helicopter have been deployed, along with more than 1,000 firefighters.

Environmental activists say the occurrence of grassland wildfires in Russia has increased in recent years for various reasons, including rising temperatures.

Reporting by Vladimir Soldatkin; Editing by Robin Pomeroy

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