Wildfires ‘critical’ in Siberia and Russian Far East, up to ten times worse than last year

In Krasnoyarsk region ten times as much territory was ablaze compared to the same time last year, in Trans-Baikal region three times as much land is hit amounting to 200,000 hectares, in the Amur Region the number of outbreaks increased by one and a half times. Pictures from the Republic of Tuva by Tuva Ministry of Emergencies

People are flouting coronavirus lockdown and start fires, warn officials.

By The Siberian Times

Disturbing pictures and video shows the scale of wildfires engulfing Siberia and the Russian Far East after the winter snow melt. With the government’s focus on coronavirus, President Vladimir Putin called for vigilance over the annual challenge from forest and steppe fires worsening due to climate warming.

Emergencies Minister Evgeny Zinichev warned in a video conference with the president that a combination of factors now poses a threat to many regions of Russia. ‘A critical situation with fires has developed in Siberia and the Far East,’ he warned.

In Krasnoyarsk region ten times as much territory was ablaze on 27 April compared with last year, Zinichev said. In TransBaikal three times as much land is hit amounting to 200,000 hectares. In the Amur Region, the number of outbreaks increased by one and a half times.

‘The main reason, of course, is unauthorised and uncontrolled agricultural fires,’ he told the president. ‘A less snowy winter, an abnormal winter, and insufficient soil moisture are factors that create the conditions for the transition of landscape fires to settlements.’

Zinichev spoke of abnormally hot weather and strong winds which seriously complicated the threat.

But he called for tougher punishments for those starting fires which got out of control, and caused ‘significant damage or even death’.

More at: http://siberiantimes.com/ecology/others/news/wildfires-critical-in-siberia-and-russian-far-east-up-to-ten-times-worse-than-last-year/

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