Fires continue in Siberia with record temperatures

(Moscow) Fires continue to rage in Siberia: the Russian Forest Protection Air Service said on Saturday that it was fighting against 136 fires on 43 00 0 hectares, seeding clouds and using explosives.

France Media Agency

The fires have decreased in intensity this week, according to this source, but most of the fireplaces are considered to be too far away and expensive to extinguish through the immense forests of Siberia, faced this summer with records of heat.

According to the Air Forest Protection Service, 159 fires ravaging 333 00 0 hectares – more than the size of Luxembourg – are continuing in areas where the efforts of Russian firefighters have been interrupted.

Figures, however, sharply down: last week, the Service had reported more than two million hectares in flames in Russia, half the area of ​​Switzerland.

Siberia has been experiencing abnormally high temperatures in places since January which, combined with low soil moisture, has contributed to new fires after those that devastated the region last summer, noted week the European Copernicus service on climate change.


A Beriev BE plane – 200 flies over Zabaïkalski National Park, in the south of Siberia.

Since mid-June, the number and the intensity of the fires have increased in the far North-East of Siberia and to a lesser extent in Alaska, according to Copernicus, causing the emission of 59 megatonnes of CO 2 in the atmosphere, a record for this month since the start of measurements in 2003.

In addition to the use of explosives to contain the flames, the Russian Forest Protection Air Service has indicated that it is trying to start rain with the seeding of clouds.

Since mid-June, the regions located in the Far North and beyond the Arctic Circle have recorded unprecedented temperature records.

Thus the Russian meteorological services had registered on 20 June peak at 38 ° at Verkhoyansk, beyond the Arctic Circle , the highest temperature recorded since the start of the measurements at the end of the XIX e century.

Highs are much more frequent and difficult to predict, causing temperatures and sunshine to rise, Roman Vilfand, head of the Russian meteorological agency, told Moscow journalists in late June. “This is the main problem and one of the consequences of climate change,” he said.

Satellite images presented on Saturday show that the main fires are still raging in Yakoutia (eastern Siberia), a gigantic territory bordering the Arctic Ocean.

The region declared a state of emergency on July 2 due to the fires, the local emergency services indicating for their part that they fought a large part of the week against the flames around a storage place d 'hydrocarbons.

Greenpeace's forest monitoring service in Russia, which relies on data collected by satellite, said on Saturday that 9, 26 million hectares in total, more than the area of ​​Portugal, had been affected by fires since the beginning of the year.

The environmental organization denounces the lack of funding for the service responsible for maintaining the forests, which cannot ensure adequate fire prevention.