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Siberia is burning – fires produce record emissions

Father and son worked for 17 days. They ask themselves what they should do. Nature and the taiga are their habitat, and they do everything to protect it.

– I have lived all my life on the taiga. I am addicted to nature. We must protect it,” Pyotr Fyodorov told AFP.

42-year-old Pyotr Fyodorov and his father, 65-year-old Ivan Fyodorov, were trying day after day to prevent the fire from spreading to their land in the Siberian Republic of Sakha (also known as Yakutia). Father and son struggled to create firewalls and smother embers and sparks with earth picks.

Caused the release of the record

In addition to the two men, hundreds of other volunteers stepped in to help the firefighters and rescue services in their hard work.

So far this year, more than 4.2 million hectares of land have been burned in Sasha, Russia’s largest semi-republican republic.

As a result, more than 505 million tons of carbon dioxide equivalent have been released since June – well above last year’s record of 450 million tons, although several weeks into the fire season still linger.

You have reached the North Pole

Earlier this week, the smoke reached the North Pole, more than 300 kilometers from the fires.

– What makes this special is that the smoke is heading far north. I don’t think anyone has ever recorded this before, says Santiago Gaso, who researches the atmosphere at the University of Maryland in the USA.

The fear is that massive fires, caused by hot weather, will also melt the permafrost in Siberia. It will release more of the carbon dioxide now stored in the frozen tundra.

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Forest fires are part of Siberia’s natural life cycle, but researchers in recent years have been amazed at the extent and intensity of the wildfires.

Volunteers help dig holes and smother fire debris in the burning ground on July 20. Photo: Ivan Nikiforov/AP/TT

Denis Markov is one of the many battling flames in Siberia.  The volunteers are doing a good job.  Their help is very important because the area is so big,” he tells AP.

Denis Markov is one of the many battling flames in Siberia. “The volunteers are doing a great job,” he told The Associated Press. “Their help is so important because the area is so big.” Photo: Ivan Nikiforov/AP/TT

Facts: Sasha fires

The total area of ​​forests in the Russian Republic of Sakha (Yakutia) is 256.1 million hectares. This is 83.4 percent of the total area of ​​the republic.

So far in 2021, the area of ​​forest burned is equivalent to 4.2 million hectares.

Throughout 2020, about 6 million hectares were burned in the area.

The area has declared a state of emergency, and from July 1, residents are prohibited from being in the woods, according to authorities.