Russia declares state of emergency in two regions due to forest fires

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Two Russian regions declared a state of emergency on Monday as summer wildfires spread amid intense heat.

The governor of the remote Siberian region of Tuva said the authorities had taken the step due to forest fires caused by intense heat, strong winds and dry thunderstorms.

"At the moment 23 forest fires have been registered on the territory of the republic. About 1,700 hectares are covered by fire. Most of them are in inaccessible mountainous areas," Vladislav Khovalyg, head of Tuva region, posted on Telegram.

Weather forecasters predict the heat will subside in the next few days, and rain is expected in some parts of the region, he said.

"However we cannot rely on the weather: July as a whole promises to be the most difficult month in terms of the fire situation. And we have to fight for every hectare of forest," Khovalyg wrote.

In Russia’s Far East, a federal state of emergency was declared in the Republic of Sakha, also known as Yakutia. The Russian ministry of emergency situations said there were 107 wildfires registered on more than 331,000 hectares.

The situation was being monitored by drones, the ministry said on Telegram.

(Reporting by Reuters; Editing by Mark Trevelyan)