dpatopbilder – HANDOUT – The situation of forest fires in Russia is taking on ever more dramatic proportions. In the world’s largest country by area, authorities reported more than 250 fires with a total area of more than three million hectares on August 7, 2021. Photo: Ministry of Emergencies / TASS / dpa Photo: Ministry of Emergencies / TASS / dpa – Alert: only For editorial use in connection with current reports and only with full mention of the above credits
The agency responsible for forest protection, Avialesoochrana, said the extinguishing work involved 180 fires covering an area of about 1.3 million hectares. She added that other fires in hard-to-reach areas will not be put out because there is no danger to people. The Siberian Yakutia (Sakha Republic) in northeastern Russia was particularly affected. There, as in eight regions, a state of emergency was in place.
And in Yakutia, more than 30 houses were burned in the village of Bagas-Kewel. “This is a great disaster,” said the President of the Republic, Agsen Nikolaev. People were brought to safety. The fire spreads strongly due to the high wind speed. Several localities were threatened, including the Sinjar settlement with oil depots.
The state agency TASS reported from the Krasnoyarsk region in Siberia that nearly 400 villages there would be drowned in smoke. According to the Avialesoochrana authority, more than 6,700 people were involved in fighting the fires across the country. In the Republic of Mordovia, hundreds of emergency services fought large fires in a natural park.
Russia is threatened by the largest forest fire disaster of this century. The environmental organization Greenpeace has listed a burnt area of 14.3 million hectares for the country since the beginning of the year. The negative record of the century was there in 2012 with an area of 16 million hectares destroyed by fire.
“This has to do with increasing climate change. Alexei Yaroshenko, a forestry expert at Greenpeace, said the bushfire risk season is getting longer, droughts more frequent, lasting longer and getting more intense. He criticized the lack of laws, money and personnel to protect the forest.
Greenpeace has provided a list of fire control measures to the government in Moscow. For example, more forest workers and volunteers will have to be deployed, and citizens will have to be educated about fire protection. Environmentalists repeatedly complain that many fires are caused by humans. Despite warnings of the danger of wildfires, many Russians start campfires in dry forests, which often remain unattended.
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