Fivefold growth of forest fires in Siberia reported

This photo taken on Friday, June 19, 2020 and provided by ECMWF Copernicus Climate Change Service shows the land surface temperature in the Siberia region of Russia. A record-breaking temperature of 38 degrees Celsius (100.4 degrees Fahrenheit) was registered in the Arctic town of Verkhoyansk on Saturday, June 20 in a prolonged heatwave that has alarmed scientists around the world. (ECMWF Copernicus Climate Change Service via AP)

MOSCOW (AP) — Russia’s forest fire aerial protection service says forest fires in Siberia have grown nearly fivefold over the past week.

The fires come amid a notable heat wave in parts of the sprawling region. A high temperature of 38 degrees Celsius (100.4 F) was reported a week ago in the town of Verkhoyansk,. If the reading is confirmed, it would be the hottest day ever recorded in the Arctic.

According to figures reported Saturday by Avialesookhrana, Russia’s agency for aerial forest fire management, 1.15 million hectares (2.85 million acres) were burning in Siberia in areas that cannot be reached by firefighters.

The worst-hit area is the Sakha Republic, where Verkhoyansk is located, with 929,000 hectares (2.295 million acres) burning.

Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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