Numerous fires were burning west of the still-frozen Novosibirsk Reservoir when the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) instrument on NASA’s Aqua satellite captured this image on April 14, 2012. Most of the fires shown were lit intentionally and burning on farmland, though Russian media reported that as many as 13 wildfires had burned at least 162.5 hectares in the Novisibirsk region.
Wildfires have occurred in areas beyond the vicinity of Novisibirsk as well. On April 17, Russian authorities reported that 77 forest fires were burning throughout Siberia. The intensifying fire activity has prompted Russian authorities to take active steps to prevent additional wildfires. According to a report from the ITAR-TASS News Agency, the Russian Ministry for Emergencies has set up hundreds of mobile and stationary posts to restrict access to forests. They have also escorted many people from the woods and held rallies in dozens of villages to highlight the importance of following fire safety rules.
A man from Buryatia was recently fined 581 million rubles—$19.6 million—for discarding a cigarette that created a fire that burned 2,000 hectares in 2009. He reportedly saw the fire burning, yet did nothing to stop it.
- Earth Observatory (2010) Field Blog: Wild West Siberia 2010