Photo of wildfires in Russia from the Russian Emergency Ministry.
16 May 2023

Russia wildfires have claimed at least 21 lives in the Ural mountains


Wildfires burning in Russia's Ural Mountains killed at least 21 people and hospitalized several others, state news agency TASS reported on Thursday May 11, quoting officials.

According to a CNN story on Kake.com, the deaths and injuries occured in the Kurgan region, on the border between the Urals and Siberia. It is one of 12 regions where the danger of fires remains "extremely high," according to TASS.

The European Union's Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service said on Wednesday that seasonal fire activity started already in April in the region , but has gotten more intense this month.

The Copernicus data shows active fires burning from Russia's Chelyabinsk region across Omsk and Novosibirsk regions to Primorye in the far east. Fires are also affecting the neighboring countries of Kazakhstan and Mongolia.

"Wildfires have engulfed several settlements in Ural. The situation has become complicated," said the head of the Ministry of Emergency Situations Alexander Kurenkov on Monday as he traveled to the Kurgan region, according to TASS.

According to Greenpeace Russia, in 2021, fires burned 18.8 million hectares (46 million acres) of forest when temperatures in Siberia were very high.


Photo Credit: Wildfires in Russia. Photo provided by the Russian Ministry of Emergencies. 
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