High carbon dioxide emissions from forest fires raging across Central Russia could speed up the global process warming, World Wildlife Fund (WWF) ecologists said, RIA Novosti reported.
Russia is suffering the worst heat wave in the 130 years since records began. Wildfires continue to rage across much of the central part of European Russia as the country experiences temperatures of up to and above 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit).
WWF ecologists said the forest fires and the carbon monoxide emissions are part of the vicious circle of global warming.
"An increase in carbon dioxide emissions lead to a warm, drought-friendly climate, which in turn leads to an increased threat of forest fires," WWF said.
The experts said the level of carbon dioxide remains high long after the fires are extinguished because rotting trees release the compound into the air. As a result, burnt forests can release more carbon dioxide than they absorb for up to 30 years.
"The growth of new trees in the burnt out areas helps to offset the carbon dioxide emissions from the fires, but quick reforestation, especially with conifers, is impossible without human assistance," WWF Russia's forest policy coordinator, Nikolai Shmatkov said.
On Monday the emergencies ministry said that over the weekend, at least 270 new forest fires and two new peat bog fires had been reported, while 276 fires were extinguished. There were 554 fires burning in an area of more than 190,000 hectares (469,000 acres).