2019 Russian wildfires

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2019 Russian wildfires
Siberian wildfires ESA19649507.jpeg
Sentinel-3 satellite view of 2019 wildfires
Total area3,000,000 hectares (7,400,000 acres)
DeathsNone reported
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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 2,600,000 hectares (6,400,000 acres).[1] As of 30 July, there had been no reported deaths or injuries due to the fires.[2]

The 2019 Siberia wildfires generated significant publicity, especially among social media users.[3] As a result, a process of reviewing legal regulations regarding forest protection and forest fire extinguishing activities was started at the state level.[4][5][6]


On 31 July 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.[7]

The smoke from the fires affected air quality in much of Siberia, including cities Novosibirsk, Krasnoyarsk, Omsk and other. Air travel was also disrupted.[8] 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.[9]

As most of the area affected was in uninhabited and/or poorly accessible areas, most of the fires are not being attended by firefighters.[8] 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 made aerial firefighting unsafe.[10] In 2020, extreme heat fueled enormous outbreaks of wildfires in the Arctic Circle exceeding the 2019 record for CO2 emissions.[11][12] In 2021, Siberia was hit again by extraordinary dry weather, record forest fires and smog.[13]


On 1 August, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev ordered an investigation into the accusation that fires were started intentionally to conceal illegal logging. Officials in Krasnoyarsk were under investigation for neglecting to fight the fires.[14] 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,[15] while US president Donald Trump offered Russia help in extinguishing the wildfires.[16]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Площадь лесных пожаров в Сибири превысила 2,6 млн га". Novaya Gazeta (in Russian). Retrieved 1 August 2019.
  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 1 August 2019.
  3. ^ "Знаменитости призвали потушить пожары в Сибири". РИА Новости (in Russian). 27 July 2019. Retrieved 26 April 2020.
  4. ^ "Депутаты просят Минприроды пересмотреть правила борьбы с пожарами". Ведомости (in Russian). Retrieved 26 April 2020.
  5. ^ "Минприроды предлагает поменять систему тушения лесных пожаров". Российская газета (in Russian). Retrieved 26 April 2020.
  6. ^ "В Думу внесли законопроект о возвращении полномочий по охране лесов на федеральный уровень". ТАСС. Retrieved 26 April 2020.
  7. ^ "Russian military called in to fight Siberian forest fires". Washington Post. 31 July 2019. Archived from the original on 31 July 2019. Retrieved 5 August 2019.
  8. ^ a b "Putin sends military to fight Siberia forest fires". The Guardian. 31 July 2019. Retrieved 11 August 2019.
  9. ^ "Siberian Smoke Reaches U.S., Canada". NASA. 31 July 2019. Retrieved 25 April 2020.
  10. ^ "'Siberia is burning': Russians choke on forest fire smog". Agence France-Presse. Gulf-Times. 6 August 2019. Retrieved 11 August 2019.
  11. ^ Stone, Madeleine (6 July 2020). "A heat wave thawed Siberia's tundra. Now, it's on fire". National Geographic. Retrieved 9 July 2020.
  12. ^ "Copernicus reveals summer 2020's Arctic wildfires set new emission records". atmosphere.copernicus.eu. 3 September 2020. Retrieved 4 September 2020.
  13. ^ Roth, Andrew (20 July 2021). "'Everything is on fire': Siberia hit by unprecedented burning". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 20 July 2021. Retrieved 21 July 2021.
  14. ^ Balmforth, Tom (1 August 2019). "Russia to investigate if Siberia wildfires were started deliberately". Reuters. Retrieved 11 August 2019.
  15. ^ "Медведев предложил пересмотреть понятие "зон контроля" природных пожаров" [Medvedev proposed revising the concept of “control zones” of wildfires] (in Russian). Interfax. 31 July 2019. Retrieved 6 August 2019.
  16. ^ "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. 1 August 2019. Retrieved 2 August 2019.