Spring is Here, Siberia Already in Flames

April 16, 2015

The vision of hell above is part of a developing complex of events in Siberia, consistent with  continued anomalous warmth in the region.

With spring barely underway, at least 23 people have been killed thus far in out-of-control wildfires sweeping the Baikal region.



Moscow Times:

President Vladimir Putin said Thursday that the federal government would send at least 5 billion rubles ($100 million) to the southern Siberian republic of Khakasia, ravaged by wildfires in recent weeks.

“I talked with the governor today. … About 2,400 homes need to be rebuilt. This will require money from the federal budget, about 5 or 6 billion rubles,” Putin said during his annual call-in show, according to the Interfax news agency.

Dozens of people have died and about a thousand have sought medical attention because of the fires, linked to small agricultural brushfires that grew out of control amid abnormally dry conditions, according to local authorities.


See NASA’s temp anomaly map for March.


MOSCOW, March 2. The outgoing winter, which ended a couple of days ago according to the calendar, has proved the warmest in the history of weather monitoring in Russia conducted since 1891, the Federal Service for Hydrometeorology and Environmental Monitoring said on Monday.

Over the past winter the average air temperatures in almost all Russian regions were two degrees above the norm as a minimum; on some territories it was even warmer. The past winter proved particularly mild in the Central, Northwest, Siberian and the Far Eastern Federal Districts, where seasonal air temperatures were 4-7 degrees above the norm.

The 2014-2015 winter beat a record earlier set by the 1962 winter by 0.5 degrees. The past winter was one of the four warmest winters in Moscow’s history, ranking fourth after almost equally warm winters registered in 1961, 1989 and 2008.

As usual, the media is quick to connect the dots.


Wind-whipped grassland fires set by Russian farmers preparing for spring planting have killed at least 23 people, injured more than 900 and left 5,000 homeless, authorities said Tuesday.

The fires swept through nearly 60 villages and destroyed or damaged more than 1,400 homes in the southeastern Siberian region of Khakassia, according to officials cited by Tass, the state-run news agency.

Emergency Situations Minister Vladimir Puchkov said 6,000 firefighters, aided by aircraft, had extinguished blazes in 38 villages. Russian President Vladimir Putin personally coordinated the operations, his spokesperson said.

Regional Governor Viktor Zimin estimated it would cost $94 million to rebuild.

“This fire would not have happened if people were not playing with matches,” Puchkov’s deputy, Alexander Chupriyan, said in a statement. “And it wasn’t children, but adults.”

Perhaps “playing with fire” would be a more appropriate metaphor.

10 Responses to “Spring is Here, Siberia Already in Flames”

  1. Also in Europe the weather is quite wild. As I write this, we had a record hot temperatures in parts of Slovakia and Czech Republic, but we expect to swing back to winter in next few days. Weather whiplash!

    Here a tornado in Spain from today (I think):


  2. And a related dust storm in Belarus/Ukraine border:


  3. redskylite Says:

    Spanish climatologist Jonathan Gomez Cantero raising awareness in Spain as climate edges closer to North Africa margins:


  4. redskylite Says:

    Latest news from the Siberian Times echoes the seriousness of the fire, with suggestions that it has spread into China/Inner Mongolia. More soiling of the Arctic environment, enhancing feedbacks and encouraging the temperature to climb on upwards.

    ‘Very difficult now. About 100 volunteers (maybe less) and about a dozen pieces of fire equipment went there. Fire is like a wall. Hard to stop it.’


  5. luminousjuju Says:

    I wonder how, and if, the burnt lands will heal themselves over time with colonization by succession plants, and what changes their might be in the types of plants which colonize the burnt areas and after.

    If any. The same goes for animals. The way things evolved after Mt. St. Helens went off.

  6. I wonder.
    In Australia we have some mean bushfires, eucalypts and pines have volatile flammable oils, which in extreme heat become flamable gases, normaly the concentration is too low for combustion. However in bushfire conditions balls of flame are ejected, sometimes up to a hundreds of meters ahead of the fire.

    Now factor in the methane from the melting clathrates and permafrost ( The Siberian methane vent/sink holes up to 1Km in diameter) and the methane cloud over the Texas areas, in isolation not a fire risk, but possibly an accelerant to fires that may have been more controllable.

    Interesting times ahead

    • luminousjuju Says:

      In California, the buildup of dried eucalyptus leaves present in a bushfire also acts like kerosene being thrown on a fire.

      When things aren’t burning, the eucalyptus off gasses something similar to petrochemical hydrocarbons, compounds which are photoreactive and are a recognized amplifier of smog.

      To add insult to injury, the eucalyptus trees in California rarely produce the nice usable lumber the same trees do in Aus. The soil in California is not conducive to growing good merchantable timber with this species.

      There are people in that state who would like to remove every last feral eucalyptus tree they can find and replant native species. After 160 years, that will be a lot of eucalyptus…..

      • Tom Torok Says:

        Meanwhile, in Australia… we need serious restocking of native animals – especially the Lyrebird, which has the beneficial habit of vastly reducing the growth of bushes and saplings in the understory of the Australian forests – which currently fuel fierce hot fires that kill the trees, rather than just run through the thinner understory as had been the case for millenia.

  7. Jim White Says:

    After the epic winter we just experienced, I’d be ok with that blue blob moving off of New England.

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