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The Epic Scale Of Siberia's Wildfires

In an area too isolated for the world's media, vast wildfires are crackling through the forests of Siberia. Although the fires are far from population centers, their impact is on a global scale.

Images taken by NASA on July 23 show a plume of smoke (top right) above central Siberia that is bigger than most countries. 
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Images taken by NASA on July 23 show a plume of smoke (top right) above central Siberia that is bigger than most countries. 

On July 20, clear skies over Italy (bottom left) give an idea of the scale of the plume.
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On July 20, clear skies over Italy (bottom left) give an idea of the scale of the plume.

This is what it looked like from the ground on July 23 as a young woman sunbathed next to the Yenisei River. 
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This is what it looked like from the ground on July 23 as a young woman sunbathed next to the Yenisei River. 

File image of a helicopter fighting a blaze near Lake Baikal. According to a recent scientific study, fires are the reason Siberia is steadily losing its conifer trees. The more adaptable trees that replace the charred conifers dry out the landscape, further increasing the risk of summer wildfires. 
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File image of a helicopter fighting a blaze near Lake Baikal. According to a recent scientific study, fires are the reason Siberia is steadily losing its conifer trees. The more adaptable trees that replace the charred conifers dry out the landscape, further increasing the risk of summer wildfires. 

On July 23, near the city of Krasnoyarsk, the sun set behind a forest shrouded in smoke from the wildfires. The Russian authorities are at odds with Greenpeace over the scale of the current fires.
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On July 23, near the city of Krasnoyarsk, the sun set behind a forest shrouded in smoke from the wildfires. The Russian authorities are at odds with Greenpeace over the scale of the current fires.

Russia's official estimate that 4,150 square kilometers of forest have been burned is less than a tenth of Greenpeace's estimate. 
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Russia's official estimate that 4,150 square kilometers of forest have been burned is less than a tenth of Greenpeace's estimate. 

The current fires have not caused any direct fatalities, but on July 1 a firefighting plane tasked with dousing blazes in the Irkutsk region crashed, killing all 10 occupants. Russian media reported that the plane was flying at its "minimum permissible height" before the crash.   
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The current fires have not caused any direct fatalities, but on July 1 a firefighting plane tasked with dousing blazes in the Irkutsk region crashed, killing all 10 occupants. Russian media reported that the plane was flying at its "minimum permissible height" before the crash. 

 

Active fires, indicated in red, north of Irkutsk on July 25. With the fires not posing an immediate threat to people, according to The Siberian Times, the current fires are unlikely to be extinguished "until it starts to rain extensively."   
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Active fires, indicated in red, north of Irkutsk on July 25. With the fires not posing an immediate threat to people, according to The Siberian Times, the current fires are unlikely to be extinguished "until it starts to rain extensively." 
 

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