Russia’s Eastern Yakutia Region Engulfed In Wildfires

Some 6,800 people and dozens of aircraft are trying to contain the fires across Russia.  

Severe wildfires continue to ravage eastern Russia, with the largest number of blazes reported in Siberia’s Yakutia region.

Around 160 forest fires covering an area of 4,400 square kilometers are burning in the isolated Yakutia region, or Sakha Republic, the forest protection agency said on July 9.

The area has been under a state of emergency for days.

Aerial drone footage from local news site News.Ykt.Ru showed the regional capital, Yakutsk, shrouded in a dense fog of smoke.

According to a monitor, the air quality index in Yakutsk is 181, a level considered unhealthy.

Due to the isolation of the vast region, there are no threats to settlements and economic facilities, the forestry service said.

However, local media reported fires were near several villages and closed down some roads.

An Antonov An-26 aircraft also tried to artificially generate rain by releasing silver iodide into clouds, officials said.

Across Russia, there are 336 forest fires covering a roughly 5,200 square kilometer area, the forestry service said.

Some 6,800 people and dozens of aircraft are trying to contain the fires.

According to Greenpeace, climate change is aggravating Russia’s vulnerability to forest fires, contributing to heat waves, thunderstorms, and droughts.

However, most of the fires are caused by people, the environmental group said.

With reporting by and dpa

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