by Elizabeth Gamillo/Smithsonianmag.com
As of early spring, wildfires have been surging through the taiga forest in Siberia. The region hardest hit was the Republic of Sakha in northeastern Russia. Also known as Yakutia, the area had 250 fires burning across 2,210 miles of land on July 5. By mid-July, residents of Yakutsk, the capitol of Sakha, were breathing in smoke from over 300 separate wildfires, as reported by the Siberian Times.
Currently, almost 10 million acres are currently burning, with one fire alone scorching an area as wide as 2.5 million acres, reports Ann M. Simmons for the Wall Street Journal. The fires are burning so intensely that vast swaths of smoke blocked sunlight. For the first time in recorded history, smoke from the fires in Siberia have drifted thousands of miles away to reach the North Pole, reports Oliver Carroll for the Independent.
The Siberian wildfires are more substantial than this season’s blazes in Greece, Turkey, the United States, and Canada combined. Local residents from Yakutia have been under a state of emergency for weeks as smoke continued to smother cities, even those that are thousands of miles away, reports the Moscow Times.