Russia‘s coldest region of Yakutia, in northeast Siberia, has suffered the largest forest fires since time immemorial for the third year in a row. According to local authorities, there is the hottest and driest summer in more than 100 years. Temperatures above 38 degrees hit all heat records. And because of that heat, the fire is being driven to the Arctic Circle.
The fire is destroying nature reserves. Millions of hectares of forest go up in flames. The fire gets bigger and harder to fight every year. The fires spread across hundreds of thousands of hectares of forest and hulls villages and cities in the region in black smoke and harmful fumes.
Not only are the fires pumping huge amounts of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, the Siberian permafrost melts, the substrate that never really thaws. Scientists are alerting about this: they warn of an ecological disaster that will be felt worldwide.
Correspondent Iris de Graaf tried to get as close to the fires as possible. Here’s the vlog she made about her reportage journey: