Wildfires rage in Northern Siberia

Wildfires rage in Northern Siberia

Kolyma highway in Yakutia, also known as the Road of Bones, is on fire and temporarily shut

Elsewhere in Russia’s coldest region desperate authorities spike clouds to induce rain and tame wildfires.

By Svetlana Skarbo

 

30 June 2021

Today Kolyma highway, the major road connecting republic’s capital Yakutsk and the port town of Magadan on the Sea of Okhotsk, had to be shut because the fire got too close to the road and was much too fierce for safe driving

More than 2,000 people are deployed in extinguishing wildfires raging around Russia’s coldest inhabited territory, Yakutia, now in the third year of extremely intense season of wildfires. 

The first of them ignited as early as the beginning of May right outside the world-famous Pole of Cold, the village of Oymyakon in northeastern Yakutia known for its record low temperatures.

Wildfires continued through May and June, with extra fire extinguishing forces needing to be sent from other regions to help republic’s own teams. 

Today Kolyma highway, the major road connecting republic’s capital Yakutsk and the port town of Magadan on the Sea of Okhotsk, had to be shut because the fire got too close to the road and was much too fierce for safe driving.

Kolyma highway in Yakutia, also known as the Road of Bones, is on fire and temporarily shut

Kolyma highway in Yakutia, also known as the Road of Bones, is on fire and temporarily shut

Kolyma highway in Yakutia, also known as the Road of Bones, is on fire and temporarily shut

Local drivers shared videos of flame-engulfed forest along both sides of the road, which was barely visible in heavy smoke. The wildfires were moving towards River Aldan 325km along the Kolyma highway.

A cloud-spiking An-26 Cyclone plane was deployed today to induce rain in north-western Yakutia, currently one of the most affected by the wildfires.


Wildfires along the Kolyma highway, also known as The Road of Bones


‘We can’t see the Sun because of the smog, flakes of ash are raining from the sky.

‘We are struggling to breath, we really need help’, complained residents of Udarnik village in Tomponsky district, north-eastern Yakutia.

The Siberian Times has kept a particularly close eye to this area because of the field of peat fires continuing to burn all through Yakutia’s severely cold autumn and winter

The peat fire started right after summer-2020 wildfires, and clearly never stopped since.


Wildfires outside Udarnik village in Tomponsky district of Yakutia, same area where peat fires were burning all through winter 2020-2021


 

Today the republic’s capital Yakutsk was blanketed with smoke from the wildfires. 

There is no hope for the situation easing in July, as the heatwave will continue and the air temperature in Yakutia will stay ‘way above the norm’, according to Russia’s chief weather expert Roman Vilfand.

Last year nearly 70% of all Russia’s wildfires were in Yakutia, reported the Ministry of Nature, with over six million hectares of forests and fields burnt.

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