Massive wildfires raging in Russia are ‘already double last year’

One huge blaze in the Tyumen region of Western Siberia captured on video

Louise Boyle
Senior Climate Correspondent, New York
Wednesday 20 April 2022 06:35 BST
Family of elks flee wildfire in Tyumen region in Western Siberia

Wildfires are raging in Russia, marking an early start to fire season across the vast expanses of Siberia.

Video, published by The Siberian Times, showed a huge blaze in the Tyumen region of Western Siberia. The footage shows fire crews outlined against a smoke-filled orange sky, trying to tackle the blaze. In another clip, a family of elk can be seen in the distance fleeing the flames.

The news outlet reports that Greenpeace Russia said the current wildfire area in the country was already double that of April 2021.

A UN climate report in February warned that the climate crisis, combined with land use changes, is driving larger and more erratic wildfires across many regions.

Siberia, along with the US West, central India, Australia, and southern Europe are just some of the areas that have seen massively destructive fires in the past few years.

Governments are unprepared for the scale and ferocity of these events, the UN Environment Program said, which could increase more than 50 per cent by 2100.

Wildfires are part of a concerning feedback loop in Siberia, which sits within the Arctic Circle. The fires thaw permafrost, which releases carbon dioxide and methane emissions into the atmosphere. Methane in particular has particularly potent greenhouse heating impacts in the short-term.

Land temperature in the Arctic Circle reached a record-breaking 48 degrees Celsius during a “persistent heatwave” in Siberia last summer.

Wildfires also increase air pollution, and smoke inhalation can affect millions of people as plumes drift across international borders.

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