The Siberian forest fire that occurs in the region of Yakutia has caused its smoke to reach the North Pole "for the first time in historical records", according to a statement and satellite image released by NASA, the United States Space Agency.

According to the material, the Siberian wildfire already spans 4,8 kilometers (km), a size more than enough to classify it as larger than all other events of its type currently burning in the world combined.


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Satellite image taken by NASA shows a Siberian forest fire, with smoke so dense it practically blurs the ground.
The smoke in the image recorded by NASA's MODIS satellite shows that the Siberian forest fires are so intense that the smoke has already reached the North Pole – something unprecedented in history. Image: NASA/MODIS/Disclosure

Yakutia – officially the Russian Republic of Sakha – has 3,083,523 km² of land area, constituting half of the eastern states that make up the Russian federation. Endowed with three time zones, Yakutia deals with extreme cold, but with the problematic advance of the global warming, the region known for recording, in the past, a cold of -72,1°C (Celsius), now sees the melting of ice and forest fires increasingly evident.

The problem lies in the region's forest density. Known as “taiga” or “boreal forest”, the biome is filled with wood trees strong enough to withstand the cold. When they burn, they tend to take longer to completely destroy themselves, causing the fire to spread over larger sectors for longer. Every summer there is fire like that, but in 2021, things are getting especially bad.

In 2020, the Siberian forest fire rate was described by the Russian government as “very bad”, producing the equivalent of 450 million tons of carbon dioxide, a gas that severely contributes to the advance of global warming. This year, however, the estimate is for worsening, given that we are already at the 505 million ton mark and the Siberian summer is not over yet.

According to the image of satellite recorded by NASA, the smoke was visible at 3,2 km from east to west, and 4 km from north to south. China's state news agency Xinhua said it had seen reports that smoke had reached Mongolia and its capital, Ulan Bator.

The main difficulty is that the forest region, in addition to being dense, is dangerous to be accessed by humans. According to the Siberian Times, since July, residents of the region have been breathing smoke from the fires, but only half of the forests can be served by firefighters and the Russian army.

Environmental officials, however, also criticize the Russian government for allegedly letting the Siberian wildfire continue unchecked, thanks to a law that allows intervention forces not to be called if the cost of action is greater than the cost of damage caused by the fires. . In other words: if it's too expensive to fix, let the already expensive problem continue.

According to Alexei Yaroshenko, the Russian press turns a blind eye to the fires in the Siberian region. According to what the forest management expert told the Washington Post, they limit themselves to “playing hot rags”, saying that the taiga is always burning and minimizing the situation. “For years, government officials and opinionated influencers have been saying that fireworks are normal and there is no need to 'make trouble' with it. People kind of got used to it.”

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