July 5, 2024 - Fire and Smoke in Russia's Far East

Fires in Russia

Russia’s 2024 wildfire season appeared to be off to an exceptionally fierce start, with a thick blanket of smoke stretching across much of the Far East by early July.

The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Aqua satellite acquired a true-color image of the choking smoke on July 3. The gray haze was so thick, especially over Yakutia (Sakha Republic), that it was impossible to see the land beneath. Along the western edge of the thickest smoke, many dozens of red hot spots mark actively burning fire.

On July 2, the Global Fire Monitoring Center (GFMC) advised that widespread fires led to the republics of Tuva and Yakutia (Sakha) declaring states of emergency. More than 100 wildfires burned on over 300,000 hectares in Yakutia alone, while 500 active wildfires had been recorded in 18 regions in Russia’s Far East during the previous week. The Moscow Times quoted Russia’s Emergency Situations Ministry, which declared that 75 people had died and 2,200 had been evacuated from those fires. At least 23 active wildfires were burning in Tuva.

The Moscow Times went on to state, “Russia’s wildfire season started in early March, with twice as many fires recorded by mid-April as over the same period in 2023 and human negligence thought to be the most likely cause. Officials say more than 2.3 million hectares of forest have burned in Russia since the start of 2024, the highest since 2020.”

Image Facts
Satellite: Aqua
Date Acquired: 7/3/2024
Resolutions: 1km (3 MB),
Bands Used: 1,4,3
Image Credit: MODIS Land Rapid Response Team, NASA GSFC