2019 Siberia wildfires

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2019 Siberia wildfires
Statistics
Total area3,000,000 ha
FatalitiesNone reported

The 2019 Siberian wildfires began in July 2019 in poorly accessible areas of northern Krasnoyarsk Krai, Sakha Republic and Zabaykalsky Krai, all in Siberia, Russia. By the end of the month the size of the fires reached 2.6 million hectares.[1] As of 30 July there have been no reported deaths or injuries due to the fires.[2]

Extent[edit]

On July 31, 2019, Russian authorities reported that 3 million hectares (7.4 million acres; 30,000 km2) were on fire, an area roughly the size of Belgium.[3]

The smoke from the fires has affected air quality in much of Siberia, including cities as far west as Chelyabinsk and Yekaterinburg. Air travel was also disrupted.[4] According to NASA data, on 31 July the smoke from burning Siberian forests reached the territory of Alaska and, possibly mixed with smoke from local fires, reached the western coast of Canada.[5]

As most of the area affected is in uninhabited and/or poorly accessible areas, most of the fires are not being attended by firefighters.[4] As of 6 August, Russia's Aerial Forest Protection Service was fighting 161 fires on 140,000 ha (350,000 acres), and only monitoring others. The smoke from the fires is making aerial firefighting unsafe.[6]

Reactions[edit]

On 1 August, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev ordered an investigation into the accusation that fires have been started intentionally to conceal illegal logging. Officials in Krasnoyarsk were under investigation for neglecting to fight the fires.[7] Medvedev also proposed revising regulatory acts in the field of extinguishing fires in regions including control zones, and instructed to consult with foreign experts in developing proposals to fight with wildfires,[8] while US President Donald Trump offered Russia help in extinguishing the wildfires.[9]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Площадь лесных пожаров в Сибири превысила 2,6 млн га". Novaya Gazeta (in Russian). Retrieved 2019-08-01.
  2. ^ "Медведев предупредил губернаторов о необходимости лично контролировать ситуацию с пожарами" [Medvedev warns governors to have the situation with wildfires on personal control]. TASS. Retrieved 2019-08-01.
  3. ^ "Russian military called in to fight Siberian forest fires". Washington Post. July 31, 2019. Retrieved 5 August 2019.
  4. ^ a b "Putin sends military to fight Siberia forest fires". The Guardian. 31 July 2019. Retrieved 11 August 2019.
  5. ^ Siberian Smoke Reaches U.S., Canada
  6. ^ "'Siberia is burning': Russians choke on forest fire smog". Agence France-Presse. Gulf-Times. 6 August 2019. Retrieved 11 August 2019.
  7. ^ Balmforth, Tom (1 August 2019). "Russia to investigate if Siberia wildfires were started deliberately". Reuters. Retrieved 11 August 2019.
  8. ^ "Медведев предложил пересмотреть понятие "зон контроля" природных пожаров" [Medvedev proposed revising the concept of “control zones” of wildfires] (in Russian). Interfax. 2019-07-31. Retrieved 2019-08-06.
  9. ^ "Трамп предложил Путину помощь в борьбе с лесными пожарами в Сибири" [Trump offered Putin help in the fight against wildfires in Siberia] (in Russian). RIA Novosti. 2019-08-01. Retrieved 2019-08-02.