On June 18, 2012, a total of 198 wildfires burned across Russia and had charred an area that covered 8,330 hectares (32 square miles). Many were in central Russia, where firefighters have battled uncontrolled fires for months.
The latest flare-up prompted Russian authorities to declare a state of emergency in seven regions, including the Khanty-Mansiisk autonomous area, the Tyva Republic, the Sakha Republic, Krasnoyarsk, Amur, Zabaikalsky, and Sakhalin.
The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Terra satellite acquired these images of numerous fires and heavy smoke near the borders of Khanty-Mansiisk, Krasnoyarsk, and Tomsk at 1:20 p.m. local time (06:20 Universal Time) on June 18. Active fires are shown with red outlines. Numerous fires are burning through taiga in Krasnoyarsk (bottom), and a large pall of smoke to the south covers much of Tomsk (top).
According to Russian authorities, many of the fires started when people lost control of agricultural fires and campfires. However, lightning sparked some of the blazes as well.
According to the environmental group Greenpeace, more land in Russia has burned this year than in 2010, a year that intense wildfires affected western Russia and produced rare pyrocumulus “fire clouds.”
NASA image courtesy Jeff Schmaltz, LANCE MODIS Rapid Response. Caption by Adam Voiland.