Climate change to boost number of wildfires each year, says expert

Climate change to boost number of wildfires each year, says expert

Climate change will aggravate the situation with wildfires in coming years and so adaptation remains on the agenda, Maksim Yakovenko, the head of the Russian Federal Service for Hydrometeorology and Environmental Monitoring, told reporters on Wednesday, Trend reports citing TASS.

"The key issue was forest firefighting, so I would like to say that the situation will be worsening each year because climate change is evident everywhere, even here in Russia," Yakovenko said after an emergency meeting chaired by Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev.

Yakovenko pointed out that in north Russia the situation was becoming even worse than in other regions, as temperatures in some Siberian regions had already exceeded average levels by 8 to 10 degree Centigrade.

"It means that in the future we will be facing lasting heatwaves, drying soils, and so the temperatures will be rising, not exponentially, but at a significant pace, higher than on average across the world. That is why, the climatic situation will deteriorate there," he said concluding that the factor should be taken into consideration and "we should get adapted," in particular, fire safety should be in the focus of attention.

According to information provided by the Federal Aerial Forest Protection Service on July 31, nearly 2.8 million hectares of forest are burning in the hard-to-reach areas. Wildfires covered the largest area in Yakutia where the fires are raging on 1.1 million hectares of taiga as well as on more than one million hectares in the Krasnoyarsk region and about 700,000 hectares in the Irkutsk region. At least 2,700 personnel, 390 vehicles and 28 aircraft are involved in firefighting efforts to extinguish huge forest fires in Siberia.

Emergencies were declared in four Russian regions: in the Irkutsk and Krasnoyarsk regions and in one district of Buryatia and in one district of Yakutia. On Wednesday, following an instruction of Russian President Vladimir Putin, ten planes and ten helicopters of the Russian Defense Ministry joined the firefighting efforts.

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