Wildfire smoke covers 618 populated areas in Russia’s Far East and Siberia, a spokesperson for the Emergencies Ministry told TASS on Friday.

“The Krasnoyarsk, Irkutsk, Buryatia, Yakutia and Trans-Baikal regions are facing the most difficult situation. Wildfire smoke covers 618 populated areas in those regions,” the spokesperson said.

According to the Russian Emergencies Ministry, as of Thursday morning, 804 populated areas were covered in smoke.

A total of 9,000 personnel and 2,800 pieces of equipment are involved in firefighting activities. Two Beriev Be-200 amphibious aircraft dropped 300 tonnes of water on hotspots in the past 24 hours. As many as 118 observation posts have been set up to monitor the level of toxic substances in the air.