state of emergency has been declared in parts of the
Yamal-Nenets Autonomous Okrug as extreme heat combined with dry
winds have pounded the region for the past month and a half.
Temperatures in the area have climbed up to 35 degrees Celsius,
are currently 21 major wildfires covering an area of about 1000
hectares. Since the start of the year, the number of registered fires
has reached 215 and as much as 4,777 hectares of land are
situation is the worst in the Purovsky area where locals are
requested to stay inside, close the windows and use protection masks
against the smog when going outside.
than 500 people are now engaged in fire fighting efforts along with
16 helicopters and one Il-76 aircraft.
reindeer herders in the area are now moving their flocks closer to
local waterways. The Yamal-Nenet AO has the world’s biggest
population of reindeer.
situation has major consequences for local inhabitants. It could
however also have serious effects on climate and the environment.
to Vladimir Melnikov, a researcher from the Tyumen Research Centre, a
unit of the Russian Academy of Sciences, a general temperature
increase over time could lead to accelerated melting of the
permafrost and ultimately also to the appearance of more sinkholes.
has not been such a heat in Yamal for the last 20-30 years,”
Melnikov says to TASS.
heat will melt the permafrost and make the ground unstable, which
ultimately will release the water and natural gas currently stored in
the permafrost layer, Melnikov says. “That will increase the
pressure and lead to outbursts which is the way we get sinkholes,”