Large wildfires and major flooding as Siberia faces a spring that’s both dry and wet

 Large wildfires and major flooding as Siberia faces a spring that’s both dry and wet

21 April 2017

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Russia –  Many regions are burning while in the west the problem is snow melt water in the Ob, the world’s 7th longest river.

Rising temperatures and strong winds are fuelling an increase in wildfires, as highlighted in these dramatic pictures.

Worst-hit regions in the coming days are expected to be TransBaikal, Kemerovo region and Omsk along with the Republic of Buryatia.

Space monitoring spotted 23 ‘hot spots’ across 6,800 hectares.

Many were sparked by the illegal burning of hay, an annual problem.

But peat fires in Buryatia are posing a serious threat, says Greenpeace, which claims the authorities are turning a blind eye.

Alexey Yaroshenko, head of the forestry department at the campaigning group, said: ‘Large wildfires in drained peat bogs are active again in the Kabansky district of Buryatia.

‘The largest wildfire covers, according to preliminary information, about 500 hectares in a peat bog close to Bolshaya Rechka village.

‘Smaller wildfires have been registered by systems of remote monitoring, also in the delta of Selenga River as well as on drained peat bogs close to Seleginsk.’

With no rain due, and a hot summer in prospect, this will lead to worsening fires and ‘create a life and health threat to people’ and pose problems for transport.

In Irkutsk, fires are being blamed on setting fire to dry grass and last year’s garbage, after which the blazes become out of control.

TransBaikal had five wildfires on Friday morning, and there were four in Khabarovsk.

Further west the problem was excess water.

A village in Novosibirsk region was reported to be submerged.

Private houses close to the Ob have been hit by rising water levels, as shown in the pictures.

Some residents were building makeshift dams to protect their homes.

For now Novosibirsk region is affected by the rising water levels.

In Omsk region, a new road collapsed and villagers in Saratovo were left marooned for several days with food shortages.

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