Italy sends fire-fighting planes to Russia

August 5, 2010 10:15 am 

ROME, Aug. 5 — Italy sent two fire-fighting aircraft to Russia on Wednesday to help the Russian authorities tame the wild flames which are destroying many of the country's regions.

The Italian government has been closely following the Russian national emergency and since the outbreak of the fires has made itself available for any kind of rescue coordination and assistance, government sources said.

On Wednesday Moscow accepted Italy's help offer by forwarding a request of intervention to Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, who immediately gave orders to send the two planes to Russia, according to a note issued by the civil protection unit.

The civil protection unit is the central operative agency responsible for all natural calamities and emergencies hitting Italy. Its leader, Guido Bertolaso, has dispatched to Russia a team of technicians and five aircraft crews in order to guarantee non-stop support to the Russian authorities in extinguishing the devastating flames.

The two Italian fire-fighting planes have a capacity of 6,000 liters of water and fire-extinguishing liquid for each flight, and can refuel in just 12 seconds.

The civil protection unit has gained a lot of experience in taming the wildfires, which often break out during the summer in Italy's parks, natural reserves and green areas close to the sea, either because of natural combustion or human action.

The fires started on Friday in Russia have so far killed almost 50 people and destroyed about 1,000 houses. (PNA/Xinhua)

ALM/ebp

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