By Antonina Koshcheeva and Derek Lambie
23 June 2015
(The Siberian Times) – Hot weather, thunderstorms, and carelessness have brought fresh wildfires to parts of Siberia just months after deadly blazes killed more than 30 people.
Sixteen districts of the Republic of Buryatia have been affected, including one military forestry, two national parks and the Baikal Nature Reserve.
A state of emergency has been declared by the head of the republic and access to forests has been forbidden as firefighters attempt to tackle the blazes.
An estimated 9,300 hectares of woodland is on fire, with fears this will only spread with further hot weather forecast over the next few days.
Firefighters say, for the most part, the blazes were caused by carelessness from the public and a 48-year-old is suspected of damaging eight hectares of forest in Yeravninsky.
Prosecutors have instigated 105 cases against people for breaking fire prevention rules since the fire season started in Buryatia in April. Since then about 827 fires have been recorded, affecting about 148,000 hectares, a rise on last year’s equivalent total of 608.
Officials say more than 1,300 people are involved in fighting blazes across the region, including farmers and landowners using tractors and bulldozers. [more]
11 June 2015 (The Siberian Times) – Some parts of Siberia were warmer than usual by 6C, with a host of anecdotal examples of normal meteorological rules being turned on their head. For a few days in late April, for example, the city of Irkutsk boasted higher temperatures than Madrid.
The ice on vast Lake Baikal was too thin or non-existent even in February and March, forcing the cancellation of a number of events.
In the past, it was safe to drive cars across the frozen lake, the deepest in the world.
In the Far East, in Sakhalin, bears woke earlier than usual, fooled by the early heat. The same happened thousands of miles to the west in Tomsk region.
Wild fires were engulfing large tracts of Siberia and the Russian Far East as early as March. […]
In late May, forest fires in the parched Republic of Buryatia and Irkutsk Region were 2.6 times larger than average.
Climate monitoring by the Hydrometeorological Centre of Russia indicates spring 2015 was the warmest in the entire 125-year history of regular meteorological observations. [more]