Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Siberian Forest Fires Increase Fivefold in Week Since Record High Temperature

Climate
Siberian Forest Fires Increase Fivefold in Week Since Record High Temperature
A forest fire in central Yakutia (Sakha Republic) on June 2. Yevgeny Sofroneyev / TASS / Getty Images

By Eoin Higgins

The number of fires in the vast north Asian region of Siberia increased fivefold this week, according to the Russian forest fire aerial protection service, as temperatures in the Arctic continued higher than normal in the latest sign of the ongoing climate crisis.


The news of the increase comes a week after the small Siberian town of Verkhoyansk reported a high temperature of 100.4° F on June 20, a reading that, if confirmed, would mark the hottest day ever recorded in the region.

"While fires are common at this time of year, record temperatures and strong winds are making the situation particularly worrying," the European Union's Earth Observation Programme, which is monitoring the situation, said in a statement.

As the Associated Press reported:

According to figures reported Saturday by Avialesookhrana, Russia's agency for aerial forest fire management, 1.15 million hectares (2.85 million acres) were burning in Siberia in areas that cannot be reached by firefighters.
The worst-hit area is the Sakha Republic, where Verkhoyansk is located, with 929,000 hectares (2.295 million acres) burning.

The Sakha Republic's fire service reported 127 natural fires in the Russian federal sector.

The fires and heat are due to the climate crisis, Weather Channel meteorologist Carl Parker told Newsweek.

"What climate change is doing is moving the distribution of weather events, such that historically low-frequency, extreme events occur more frequently," said Parker. "Had the climate not changed due to man-made greenhouse gases, the heat we've seen in parts of Siberia would have been a 100,000-year event."

Parker warned that the fires are part of a dangerous feedback loop in the northern region.

"What's scary about the warming in Siberia is that there are huge quantities of carbon in permafrost, which can be unleashed during periods like this, particularly as fires develop in the region," said Parker.

Jonathan Overpeck, University of Michigan environmental school dean, told AP in an email on June 24 that the situation in the Arctic region is unprecedented.

"The Arctic is figuratively and literally on fire," wrote Overpeck. "It's warming much faster than we thought it would in response to rising levels of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, and this warming is leading to a rapid meltdown and increase in wildfires."

"The record warming in Siberia is a warning sign of major proportions," he added.

Temperatures in Siberia for the first five months of 2020 were an average 14° F over normal.

"That's much, much warmer than it's ever been over that region in that period of time," Zeke Hausfather, a Berkeley Earth climate scientist, told AP.

Reposted with permission from Common Dreams.


OlgaMiltsova / iStock / Getty Images Plus

By Gwen Ranniger

In the midst of a pandemic, sales of cleaning products have skyrocketed, and many feel a need to clean more often. Knowing what to look for when purchasing cleaning supplies can help prevent unwanted and dangerous toxics from entering your home.

Read More Show Less

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter


JasonOndreicka / iStock / Getty Images

Twenty-five years ago, a food called Tofurky made its debut on grocery store shelves. Since then, the tofu-based roast has become a beloved part of many vegetarians' holiday feasts.

Read More Show Less

Trending

Protestors walk past an image of a Native American woman during a march to "Count Every Vote, Protect Every Person" after the U.S. presidential Election in Seattle, Washington on November 4. Jason Redmond / AFP / Getty Images

By Jessica Corbett

A leading environmental advocacy group marked Native American Heritage Month on Wednesday by urging President-elect Joe Biden, Vice President-elect Kamala Kamala Harris, and the entire incoming administration "to honor Indigenous sovereignty and immediately halt the Keystone XL, Dakota Access, and Line 3 pipelines."

Read More Show Less
Marilyn Angel Wynn / Getty Images

By Christina Gish Hill

Historians know that turkey and corn were part of the first Thanksgiving, when Wampanoag peoples shared a harvest meal with the pilgrims of Plymouth plantation in Massachusetts. And traditional Native American farming practices tell us that squash and beans likely were part of that 1621 dinner too.

Read More Show Less
Former U.S. Sec. of Energy Ernest Moniz listens during the National Clean Energy Summit 9.0 on October 13, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Isaac Brekken / Getty Images for National Clean Energy Summit

By Jake Johnson

Amid reports that oil industry-friendly former Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz remains under consideration to return to his old post in the incoming Biden administration, a diverse coalition of environmental groups is mobilizing for an "all-out push" to keep Moniz away from the White House and demand a cabinet willing to boldly confront the corporations responsible for the climate emergency.

Read More Show Less