A Russian state television journalist started a small fire with a cigarette butt to report on a region's devastating wildfires, the Moscow Times reported Thursday.
Both the English-language Moscow Times and Ukraine Today reported that according to local news outlet Khakasia, Channel One reporter Mikhail Akinchenko wanted to set the scene while shooting video in the southern Khakasia region. Recent wildfires in the area have killed 34 people, according to Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. A Reuters report from last week said the fires had cost around $96 million.
"We admit that an employee of the channel committed an act of carelessness," the channel told the Kommersant newspaper Thursday, according to the Moscow Times. "The participants in this incident will be punished."
The outlet also reported that Kirill Kleimyonov, the deputy head of Channel One, told the Russian News Service that the reporter had acted like an "idiot" but would not be fired.