A massive stretch of wildfires tearing through Siberia is bigger than all other wildfires in the world combined as Russia’s largest and coldest region is enduring a record drought. The massive blazes in Russia are fueled in part by extreme heat waves and record droughts that scientists are blaming on warmer temperatures linked to climate change.
The fires have been burning since late spring in Yakutia and are already among the largest ever recorded. Greenpeace Russia reportedly estimates the infernos have torched more than 62,000 square miles since the start of the year. The Post reports hundreds of wildfires burning in the region are larger than those in Turkey, Greece, Italy, the U.S. and Canada combined. Wildfires occur annually in the forested area known as the taiga, but this year has been particularly severe due to extreme heat waves. Greenpeace Russia told this year could end up being Russia’s worst fire season on record. This week, the fires have spread across 43,000 square kilometres of land—an area as large as the Indian state of Haryana! And since the beginning of this year, around 1.31 lakh square kilometres of forests have burned down, equivalent to the size of Tamil Nadu, India’s tenth largest state.
The implications of this wildfire have been disastrous not just for the flora and fauna within these forests, but also for the life beyond them. Thick smoke from the wildfires has blanketed several Russian provinces. The smoke has even managed to travel an unparalleled distance of 3000km and reach the North Pole. Also, 166 metric tons of carbon dioxide has been emitted—equivalent to the emission from 360 lakh cars!