Wildfires rage in Russia’s Ural mountains, Siberia

MOSCOW (AP) — Wildfires have raged in Russia’s Ural mountains and in Siberia this week, with authorities promising to swiftly contain them. Blazes engulfed thousands of hectares in Sverdlovsk and Kurgan, as well as Tyumen and Omsk regions. A state of emergency has been declared in the latter two, while in Sverdlovsk and Kurgan officials vowed to contain the flames. In recent years, Russia has experienced especially widespread forest fires, which experts blame on unusually dry summers and high temperatures. The experts also blame a 2007 decision to disband a federal aviation network tasked with spotting and combating fires. Its assets were turned over to regional authorities, a move the government later reversed, but the agency’s resources remain limited.