MOSCOW — Smoke from fires in northeast Russia is so thick it has obscured the sun, plunging swathes of the region into darkness during the brief summer.
A state of emergency has been declared in the city of Yakutsk, where freezing winter temperatures have earned it a reputation as the coldest and constantly inhabited city on the planet. Residents have been urged to stay indoors as volunteers and firefighters brave temperatures exceeding 100 degrees Fahrenheit.
In total, wildfires devoured more than 10 million acres of land in the Yakutia region this summer, with 175 fires still on, government data showed. Scientists fear that the amount of carbon dioxide released by Russian fires may exceed last year’s record. Similar scenes are unfolding in several parts of the world as emergency crews tackle wildfires in Turkey, southern Europe and the United States, including California and Hawaii, where bushfires have taken hold. exploded over some 40,000 acres. Scientists say the extreme heat in some areas and the drought helped start the fires.
More than 2,400 firefighters have been deployed to fight the forest fires in Russia, supported by troops and military planes, while volunteers such as Ayil Dyulurkha mobilized, desperate to prevent the wildfires from spreading in cities where they could destroy homes and businesses.
It’s a world away from running the courier company he founded six months ago in Yakutsk, Dyulurkha said. “When you come back from the fire you cough and black soot comes out of your nose,” he said.