Putin Calls Siberian Wildfires 'Unprecedented,' Calls For Stronger Response.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has called the wildfires ravaging parts of northern Siberia "absolutely unprecedented" and called for a better response by firefighters.

Putin's comments, in an August 14 video call with government officials, came as the total area burnt reached nearly 1.3 million hectares in Yakutia alone.

Known for frigid winters and hot Arctic summers, the Siberian region has suffered unusually devastating fires this year, following months of dry weather and record heat.

Yakutsk, the provincial capital, and other major population centers have been blanketed in choking smoke.

Meanwhile, parts of southern Siberia have also seen devastating flooding in recent months.

"We see, we understand that the scale of natural disasters is absolutely unprecedented," Putin said in the video conference.

Emergency Situations Minister Yevgeny Zinichev said more than 5,000 personnel, 19 aircraft, and hundreds of trucks have been deployed to the region. But he said thick smoke has also grounded firefighting planes.

In all, a total of 252 active fires were burning across the country, over more than 4.2 million hectares, according to the Natural Resources Ministry, or roughly an area the size of Switzerland.

Environmental experts say a 2007 decision by the government to disband a federal aviation network tasked to spot and combat fires has hampered firefighting efforts.

Weather officials and environmentalists have linked the growing intensity of annual Siberian fires to climate change.

With reporting by AP and dpa

Radio Free Europe

RFE/RL journalists report the news in 22 countries where a free press is banned by the government or not fully established, including Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Russia.

https://www.rferl.org/

Related news
COVID-19: US relax travel rules for vaccinated passengers from UK & EU.

COVID-19: US relax travel rules for vaccinated passengers from UK & EU.

Coronavirus latest: HOLIDAYS to America will be open to double- jabbed Brits in weeks. Visits to the likes of Disneyland, Miami and New York could be on from “early November” after a surprise announcement by Joe Biden. The US border was shut by Do...

1 8

Tyrus questions why Biden has yet to apply years of experience.

Tyrus questions why Biden has yet to apply years of experience.

'Gutfeld!' guests dissect Joe Biden's lack of presidential performance. #FoxNews #Gutfeld Subscribe to Fox News! Watch more Fox News Video: Watch Fox News Channel Live: FOX News Channel (FNC) is a 24-hour all-encompassing news service delivering b...

Reckless eco-warriors run onto busy M25 & block BOTH carriageways in dangerous protests.

Reckless eco-warriors run onto busy M25 & block BOTH carriageways in dangerous protests.

BRAZEN eco protesters have escalated their M25 protest campaign by blocking the high speed carriageway. Insulate Britain had previously been targeting the slip roads of the motorway to disrupt motorists. Furious drivers have clashed with the demon...

Ingraham: Biden White House has held America 'hostage'.

Ingraham: Biden White House has held America 'hostage'.

Laura Ingraham says Democrats' only priority is holding onto power by any means necessary. #FoxNews #TheIngrahamAngle Subscribe to Fox News! Watch more Fox News Video: Watch Fox News Channel Live: FOX News Channel (FNC) is a 24-hour all-encompassi...

1 410

Live: Gas prices crisis - govt consider offering state loans to energy companies.

Live: Gas prices crisis - govt consider offering state loans to energy companies.

British Business and Energy Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng takes questions from lawmakers in parliament as the government considers offering state loans to energy companies amid soaring natural gas prices. Home Secretary Priti Patel will then update par...

Trump sent Raffensperger a letter asking him to decertify election.

Trump sent Raffensperger a letter asking him to decertify election.

Georgia's Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger responds to a letter sent three days ago from former President Trump asking him to decertify the 2020 election. #CNN #News