Ulaanbaatar /MONTSAME/ Today, Deputy Prime Minister and Chairman of the State Emergency Commission U.Khurelsukh convened an irregular meeting of the State Emergency Commission and discussed the current situation of forest and steppe fires. As of today, July 16, there are 22 wildfires are burning in the country, namely, nine fires in Yeroo, Mandal and Khuder soums of Selenge aimag, five in Batsumber soum of Tuv aimag, one in Erdene soum and each one in Selenge and Gurvanbulag soums of Bulgan aimag. Although, there are five fire points revealed in the areas of Asralt Khairkhan, Artsat Mountain and Ar Matakh in Erdene soum of Tuv aimag, no emergency officers or vehicles could be reached.
A total of 726 people and 68 vehicles, including 351 workers, 27 vehicles of emergency services, 375 local citizens and 41 local vehicles are operating in the wildfire sites. 109 more servants and 9 vehicles from emergency departments in Dornogobi, Gobisumber, Dundgobi and Bulgan aimags and the Capital City as well as 60 servants from Tuv, Arkhangai, Uvurkhangai and Umnugobi aimags are deployed.
Deputy Chief of the National Emergency Management Agency, Brigadier General G.Ariunbuyan reported that currently the situation does not require mobilization of army soldiers and an agreement has been reached with the Emergency Ministry of the Russian Federation on getting a helicopter.
Staff of the Ministry of Justice and Home Affairs and Ministry of Health and their corresponding agencies is ready to be involved in the firefighting, if necessary. Moreover, the Ministry of Road and Transport Development agreed with two companies on using their aircrafts, which have a capacity to transport 1-2 tons of water in one-time flight and sprinkle it over the wildfire.
Nearly 70 percent of the wildfires was caused by human’s careless acts and the Police is now investigating four cases, of which offenders were identified. The Mongolian Red Cross Society has sent necessary firefighting tools worth MNT8 million, and will provide food and other assistance further.
According to a report by the Meteorological and Environmental Monitoring Agency, rain is expected tomorrow and the next day and the agency made all necessary preparations for cloud seeding. U.Khurelsukh, the Deputy Prime Minister and Chairman of the State Emergency Commission, thanked the people for their voluntary campaign and expression of joining to firefighting operations.
However, as it is risky to involve unskilled and untrained people, professionals should work in firefighting, he said, noting that the Emergency Commission would mobilize citizens if an emergency situation requires, on the condition of providing them with management, organization and professional methodology.
A total of 145 steppe and forest fires were caught in Ulaanbaatar (17 fires) and 56 soums of Arkhangai, Bayan-Ulgii, Bulgan, Dornod, Zavkhan, Sukhbaatar, Selenge, Tuv, Khovd, Khuvsgul, and Khentii aimags (128 fires), burning 66 thousand ha of land. This means that the number of wildfires increased by 40 per cent and the affected areas went up by 81 per cent compared to the same period of last year.
Rainy days in coming days
On 16-18 July, rains with thunder and lightning are expected in northern part of eastern aimags and some parts of central aimags, on 19 July in the territory of central, gobi and eastern aimags, on 21 July in western and gobi aimags, and on 22-24 July as well as at the end of the month in some parts of western, central and eastern aimags.