Wildfire in Abai Region Decreases Significantly, Local Administration Says

ASTANA – The area of the fire in the Abai Region has significantly reduced in recent days, akim (governor) of the region Nurlan Urankhayev informed, stressing that the operation to extinguish the fire is under constant control, the governor’s office reported on June 13.

A helicopter spilling water on fire area. Photo credit: Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources. Click to see the map in full size. The map is designed by The Astana Times.

“We achieved a tangible result thanks to the heroic efforts of all those involved in extinguishing and eliminating the wildfire,” said Urankhayev.

As of June 13, there are only smoldering fires with no open flame, First Deputy Prime Minister Roman Sklyar said, adding that once the fire is extinguished, sanitary deforestation and new tree planting will be carried out.

According to the latest data published by the Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources on June 13, the total area of the fire in the Abai Region reached 60,000 hectares at its peak. 

Minister of Emergency Situations Syrym Sharipkhanov informed that the fires have “no threat to settlements,” as he observed the affected areas on a helicopter.

Efforts involved in firefighting. Photo credit: Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources.

The Ministry of Defense said that 600 soldiers, 50 equipment units, and seven helicopters have been mobilized near the settlements of Shulbinsk, Talitsa, Ozerki, Zhernovka, and Baryshevka. Three unmanned aerial vehicles are used to monitor the situation from the air.

The firefighting efforts involve 1,900 people and 360 equipment units, according to the Ministry of Emergency Situations. Approximately 4,486 tons of water was discharged 1,526 times.

Extinguishing the fire has been complicated by high temperatures ranging from 27 to 32 degrees Celsius and strong winds. 

However, rain, thunderstorms, and a temperature drop in the region engulfed in the fire is predicted. The Abai News local telegram channel reported that it has already started to rain today.

Countries worldwide offer their support

World leaders and representatives of international organizations have sent letters of condolences to President of Kazakhstan Kassym-Jomart Tokayev following the day of national mourning on June 12 to honor 14 people killed by the forest fires.

People come to the memorial installed in Almaty. Photo credit: Instragram/pashacas.

Tokayev held telephone conversations with Türkiye’s President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Uzbekistan’s President Shavkat Mirziyoyev, who expressed their readiness to assist in the elimination of the fires, Kazakh Foreign Ministry’s spokesperson Aibek Smadiyarov informed.

“So far, we are not asking for assistance and handling it ourselves. However, as far as I heard, these countries are ready to help,” Smadiyarov said.

Armenia’s Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev, President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko, President of the Kyrgyz Republic Sadyr Japarov, Prime Minister of Pakistan Shehbaz Sharif, Russia’s President Vladimir Putin, Tajikistan’s President Emomali Rahmon and  Turkmenistan’s President Serdar Berdymukhamedov conveyed sincere words of support to the families and relatives of the fire victims and wished a speedy recovery to all the injured.

Kazakh citizens and businesses provide humanitarian assistance

Since the fire outbreak, Kazakh entrepreneurs and citizens have been providing all possible assistance round-the-clock for the uninterrupted work of specialists involved in extinguishing the fire and eliminating its consequences.

Photo credit: Ministry of Defense of the Republic of Kazakhstan.

Volunteers have been collecting funds, purchasing and delivering food and necessary items, and preparing hot meals for the firefighters and the people in evacuation points, who were forced to leave their property and needed support.

Several entrepreneurs in the Abai Region have collected 17 million tenge ($37,867) to help the victims. They plan to continue providing the necessary assistance to restore housing and social conditions.

People countrywide have extended their support and sympathy as much as they can. Artists Pavel Cas and Diana Scar installed a memorial in the city of Almaty, using 14 bricks to make a wall symbolizing protection from fire. The silhouettes of people were drawn with fire.

“Many people came to express solidarity and sympathy. The fire continues, and now it is essential to support volunteer organizations that are assisting those who have suffered,” Cas wrote on his Instagram page.

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