ASTANA – Forest fires that covered 60,000 hectares in the Abai Region were localized at 9 p.m. on June 14, reported the Kazakh Ministry of Emergency Situations. The ministry will continue to take measures to ensure that the fires are completely extinguished.
The fires initially broke out in the Batpayev forestry in the Abai Region on June 8, burning through an area of 2,000 hectares.
During a meeting with President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev on June 14, Prosecutor General Berik Asylov informed that a criminal investigation has been opened regarding the fire outbreak in the Abai Region. According to Asylov, an interdepartmental investigative-operational group of experienced law enforcement and special agency professionals has been formed under the supervision of the Deputy Prosecutor General.
Kazakh Minister of Internal Affairs Marat Akhmetzhanov said law enforcement agencies are considering three versions of how the forest fires began.
“An investigation is underway. Prosecutors are considering arson, negligence or a lightning strike. Expert examinations and search operations will be carried out. The investigation will take two months,” said Akhmetzhanov on June 13.
According to the Ministry of Emergency Situations, approximately 6,000 tons of water was discharged 2,100 times. The firefighting efforts involved 1,900 people and 360 equipment units.
Since the fire outbreak, Kazakh entrepreneurs and citizens have provided various assistance for the uninterrupted work of the specialists who extinguished the fire, as well as for the families of the victims and evacuated residents.