Russia’s Vladimir Putin tells officials to get better at fighting wildfires to avoid repeat of last year | Climate News


Russian President Vladimir Putin has told regional authorities they must deal with forest fires in Siberia, warning this year must not be a repeat of last year’s record season.

In an online meeting shown on state TV, Mr Putin said fires were causing significant material damage and posing a threat to life, the environment and the economy.

Mr Putin said: “We cannot allow a repeat of last year’s situation, when forest fires were the most long-lasting and intensive of recent years.”

“We need to combat fires in a more efficient, systemic and consistent way.”

Since the start of the year 4,000 fires have sent 270,000 hectares – an area twice the size of Greater Manchester – up in flames, acting emergencies minister Alexander Chupryan told Mr Putin.

The 2021 fire season was Russia’s largest ever, with blazes destroying 18.8 million hectares of forest, according to
Greenpeace Russia.

At least eight people died in Siberia on Saturday as fires tore through hundreds of buildings in several villages. High winds hampered efforts to extinguish the blazes.

UN scientists warn climate change is fuelling the fires by making parts of Russia hotter and drier. The fires release vast quantities of the climate heating gas carbon dioxide, as well as other forms of air pollution.

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