Siberia is on fire like never before, leaving Russia to fend off one too many hotspots

Russia fights forest forests in Siberia and the far east as temperatures rise after a drier than average winterCivil Defense and Emergencies Service of the Republic of Tuva

  • There is an outbreak of forest fires in Siberia, and they’re 10 times worse than the year before.
  • The warmer temperatures are forcing people out of their homes during the coronavirus pandemic, leaving many a campfire unattended.
  • This may only be the beginning of another round of forest fires for the Northern Hemisphere as most regions experience a drier than average winter.
Russia is already one of the world’s worst-affected coronavirus hotspots and now it has another — more literal — fire to put out in the far east.

Amid warming up for spring, things seem to have gotten a little too hot as in Siberia a large amount of the area has caught on fire. For Russia, this is an annual event. However, as the government is busy dealing with the coronavirus pandemic, the fires have gotten more extreme than they were a year ago.

“In total, on April 28 this year, 3,339 outbreaks were recorded. In comparison, only 1,960 were recorded that last year. The area covered by fires since the beginning of the year is 477,000 hectares. Last year, on this day, was 382,000 hectares,” Sergei Anoprienko, the Head of the Federal Forest Agency told the Siberian Times.

NASA's Terra satellite captured images of some of the fires from space on April 27 NASA

The fires in the Amur region have engulfed one and half times more territory than last year, while in Transbaikal the blaze is three times larger amounting to more than 200,000 hectares.

Fires are more severe in 2020 than the year beforeCivil Defense and Emergencies Service of the Republic of Tuva

However, the worst-hit region so far is Krasnoyarsk — the third largest city in Siberia — where the barrage has engulfed 10 times more territory than April last year, according to Russian Emergencies Minister Evgeny Zinichev.

Coronavirus is making the climate change-led event get even more out of control
The primary cause for the outbreak is unauthorised and uncontrolled agriculture fires. “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 told President Vladimir Putin, according to Siberian Times.

Every year, with the coming of spring, the fire of dry grass (including the farm), as well as on land areas are directly related to the forestCivil Defense and Emergencies Service of the Republic of Tuva

To makes matters worse, the temperatures in Siberia and the far east regions of Russia have exceeded 30 degrees Celsius — forcing people to head outside their homes. “‘People self-isolated outdoors and forgot about fire safety rules,” said Anoprienko.

The local government has called on citizens to self-isolate and not to visit the forests to prevent forest and Steppe firesCivil Defense and Emergencies Service of the Republic of Tuva

People may be keeping their distance, but that’s leaving one too many campfires unattended.

As the fires continue to worsen with hot headwinds making them spread further, over 600 people are helping extinguish the outbreaks. This includes local residents assisting the authorities despite the quarantine restrictions.

Military firefighters in the Republic of TuvaEMERCOM Tuva​

Sadly, this may only be the beginning of another round of forest fires in the Northern Hemisphere. As with Russia, California has also had a drier than average winter and Europe’s weather is warmer than usual.

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