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Russia's Forest Fire Damage Worst Since Accurate Recording Began, Greenpeace Says

Firefighters try to extinguish wildfires in Yakutia in Siberia. (file photo)
Firefighters try to extinguish wildfires in Yakutia in Siberia. (file photo)

Russia has lost a record amount of forest acreage to fire this year since accurate recording began two decades ago, Greenpeace said.

Fires have destroyed 18.13 million hectares (45 million acres) of Russian forestry so far this year through September 16, surpassing the previous record of 18.1 million recorded in 2012, the environmental organization's Moscow office said in a post, citing the nation's latest satellite monitoring data.

Russia only began using satellites to accurately monitor fires in 2001.

The forest acreage destroyed by fires this year is equivalent to the size of the U.S. state of Oklahoma.

Fires have been raging in Yakutia in Siberia, Russia’s northwestern region of Karelia, across the central Volga region and elsewhere.

The smoke from the Yakutia fires was so extensive that researchers recorded -- for the first time ever -- smoke reaching as far as the North Pole.

Global climate change is responsible for the surge in forest fires in Russia in recent years, scientists say.

Northern Siberia temperatures showed monthly averages more than 10 degrees Celsius above the average for the 29-year period from 1981–2010.

Based on reporting by TASS
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