August 10, 2022 - Widespread Fire and Smoke across Siberia

Fires in Russia

As summer temperatures soar in Siberia, wildfires continue to consume taiga and pump thick smoke into the atmosphere.

Oh August 5, 2022, the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on board NASA’s Aqua satellite acquired a true-color image showing many dozens of large fires burning across Siberia. Clusters of fires can be seen both in Western and Northern Siberia. Heavy gray and brown smoke pours from the western fires, blowing eastward. An extremely thick blanket of smoke—so thick that it obscures the land beneath from view—covers an area of about 240,000 square kilometers (92,655 square miles). That is an area larger than Ghana, or almost as large as the United Kingdom.

The large cluster of fires in Western Siberia are burning in Khanty-Mansi autonomous area (Yugra). On August 9, 2022, the Russian News Agency TASS reported that the area of active forest fires in Yugra measures 84,082 hectares, with 20 of those fires encompassing 34,760 hectares. That is an increase of almost 1,000 hectares in 24 hours. The Governor of the area was reported to ascribe the growth to abnormally hot weather, lack of precipitation, frequent thunderstorms, and gusting winds.

The cluster of fires in Northern Siberia are located primarily in Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Okrug (YNAO), with some also in northwestern Krasnoyarsk Krai. YNAO sits extremely far north, with more than fifty percent of the land located north of the Arctic Circle.

AK&M Information Agency reported on August 8 that, “According to Avialesookhrana, a subordinate organization of the Federal Forestry Agency, 297 forest fires were extinguished in 40 regions of Russia last week, 1,417 fighters of the Aviation Security and ground forest services of the interregional level were involved in extinguishing. The main causes of forest fires: the human factor and thunderstorms, the Federal Forestry Agency reported. The largest number of fires were eliminated in: Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous District, KhMAO, the Republics of Komi, Buryatia, Sakha (Yakutia), Altai, Krasnoyarsk, Kamchatka, Perm Krai, Chelyabinsk Region.”

Image Facts
Satellite: Aqua
Date Acquired: 8/5/2022
Resolutions: 1km (1.9 MB), 500m (6.1 MB),
Bands Used: 1,4,3
Image Credit: MODIS Land Rapid Response Team, NASA GSFC