Wildfires in Siberia – 2023

Written by Mahima Chhaparia

May 10, 2023


In 2021, the wildfires in Siberia were said to be bigger than all the other fires in the world combined. In 2023, the wildfires are still raging. 

In recent years, wildfires have become a common occurrence in Russia. They are said to be fueled by dry and windy conditions in the region which make it even more challenging for firefighting crews to extinguish them. 

The Ural Mountains area of Siberia is known for its vast forests and is home to a variety of plant and animal species. Wildfires in Siberia are often caused by lightning strikes or human activity, such as campfires or cigarette butts. In recent years, climate change has also been linked to an increase in the frequency and intensity of wildfires in the region.

As of 9 May 2023, the wildfires have burned through several thousand hectares of forest and other vegetation in the Ural Mountains, Sverdlovsk, Kurgan and other parts of Siberia. At least 21 people were killed and several others were injured. A state of emergency was declared in Omsk, Kurgan and Tyumen. Severe infrastructural damages were reported. 

According to Russia’s Federal Forest Agency, 154 forest fires in 18 (mostly Siberian and Far East) regions have engulfed 93,300 hectares of land nationwide as of 8 May. The Russian Hydrometeorological Department has predicted a further risk of wildfires due to extreme heat conditions in several areas across the country. 

Efforts are currently underway to contain the wildfires. Firefighting crews, including local firefighters and emergency responders, are working to extinguish the flames and prevent the fires from spreading further. 

Follow the advice of local authorities and avoid travel to affected regions until fires are fully extinguished. Ensure evacuation from high-risk regions and plan accommodation to ensure shelter and other essential services. If travelling in these areas, wear facemasks or other respiratory protective equipment to avoid inhalation of any smoke present.

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