For the Northern Hemisphere, spring is here – a time to start packing away winter jackets, and enjoying sunbaking on the deck.
But increasing warmth can also bring fires, and in Siberia and the Russian Far East, the situation is already looking pretty dire.
Russian Emergencies Minister Evgeny Zinichev has said that in Krasnoyarsk, 10 times as much territory was ablaze on April 27 compared to the same time last year, while in Transbaikal it was three times, and in the Amur region it was one and a half times as much.
In the Transbaikal region alone, this amounts to 200,000 hectares burnt – a larger area than the whole island of Maui, Hawaii.
And unfortunately, the cause is likely the worst mix of climate change, and COVID-19 cabin fever.
According to authorities, the fires have originated from a variety of sources, including out-of-control agricultural fires, arson, and untended campfires.
“People self-isolated outdoors and forgot about fire safety rules,” says Sergei Anoprienko, head of the federal forest agency Rosleskhoz.
“In some regions, the temperature is already around 30 degrees C [86 degrees F], and people just can’t keep themselves in their apartments.”
“People rushed outdoors, and as a result we have a surge of thermal points,” he added.
NASA’s Terra satellite captured images of some of the fires from space on April 27 (below).
I predicted last year that the fires this year would be stronger.
It has begun.