Russia Forest Fire Damage Are Severe

18.16m hectares were destroyed in 2021, a record since satellite monitoring began.


According to data from the Russian Forestry Agency analyzed by Greenpeace, Russia has experienced its worst forest fire season in the country’s modern history.

The forest fires have destroyed more than 18.16m hectares (44.8m acres) of Russian forest in 2021, which sets the record since Russia began monitoring forest fires using satellites in 2001. 

The previous record of the forest fire damage was set in 2012 when fires covered 18.11m (44.75m acres) hectares of forest.

Global wildfire emissions have reached unprecedented levels, and the lives of hundreds of thousands of people living in Siberia and central Russia were affected. 

The fires usually affect communities in Siberia, which are characterized by dry, hot summers. The taiga forest becomes a likely target for wildfires. Russia’s northwestern region of Karelia and the area of Yakutia in Serbia have been especially hard hit. 

According to satellite data, smoke from the Russian wildfires has reached all the way across the North Pole, reaching Greenland and Canada. Wildfires release black carbon, carbon dioxide, methane and other gases and particles, which result in smoke plumes that can reach thousands of miles from the fires. 

A villager from Teryut said, “Emergency workers have come and villagers are also fighting the fires but they can’t put them out, they can’t stop them [...] Everything is on fire.” 

According to Greenpeace Russia, “For the past several years, when the area of the fires has surpassed 15m hectares, it has become, in all likelihood, the new normal in the conditions of the new climate reality.”


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