Siberian Wildfires Swell Amid Historic Heatwave

Rodiano Bonacci
Giugno 30, 2020

Forest fires in Siberia have grown at least threefold amid a record-breaking heatwave in the region, according to Russia's agency for aerial forest fire management Aviales.

THE World Meteorological Organisation is seeking to verify an unprecedented temperature reading of 38ºC in the Russian Arctic town of Verkhoyansk.

According to figures reported Saturday by Avialesookhrana, Russia's agency for aerial forest fire management, 1.15 million hectares (2.85 million acres) were burning in Siberia in areas that can not be reached by firefighters.

Less than 450,000 hectares (1.1 million acres) had been burning in the area last week. As Alejandra Borunda reports for National Geographic, the Arctic has witnessed extreme heat before-Verkhoyansk recorded a 99.1 degree day in 1988, for example.

This is probably the highest temperature ever recorded in Siberia, and also the highest temperature ever recorded North of the Arctic circle, which begins at 66,5 ° North latitude. However, in the last week, wildfires in Siberia have increased almost fivefold - and they are occurring further north than usual.

Around half of Russia's forest coverage is located in remote areas where firefighters are allowed to let fires rage if they don't threaten nearby residents or businesses.

The Natural Resources and Environment Ministry is seeking to nearly entirely do away with the "control zones" where wildfires are allowed to burn, the Kommersant business daily reported last week.

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