Wildfires Rage in Russia's Far East, Siberia, Torching Massive Swaths of Land

Sean Breslin
Published: May 18, 2018

This image acquired May 7, 2018 by Landsat 8 shows wildfires burning in far eastern Russia.

A catastrophic wildfire season has persisted for weeks in Siberia and Russia's Far East, during which hundreds of thousands of acres have been destroyed, and the flames have even invaded some inhabited areas.

The fires marched across the land, burning everything in their path – including some roads and fields in the city of Komsomolsk-on-Amur, where more than 250,000 people live, according to the Siberian Times. The fires have burned for more than a month outside the city, and Komsomolsk-on-Amur's residents have grown impatient by what they say has been a lack of resources dedicated to fighting the blaze.

By late-April, the fires had already destroyed more than 16 square miles of land, according to Radio Free Europe, and in the three weeks since then, the infernos have advanced even further. As seen in the satellite image above, much of Russia's Far East has been shrouded in smoke as the fires intensified.

These wildfires are becoming more common due to warming temperatures, especially at the northern latitudes of the world, as well as farming practices in which burns are performed to clear land and begin the process of revitalizing the soil, Earther said. But these fires can quickly grow out of control, becoming massive conflagrations that claim hundreds of acres of land in just hours or days.

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In the video above, a Russian train conductor is seen traveling through heavy smoke and even tall flames at times while going through a forest that was on fire.

"We live and work in such complicated circumstances," the conductor said in the video, according to Earther.

Warmer-than-average, dry conditions have fueled these fires as they burn aggressively across the region. Impacting mostly Russia's Far East and Siberia, the country's wildfire season generally begins in April or May and burns in heavily forested areas, Radio Free Europe also said.

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