According to NASA, summer of 2012 has been “the most severe wildfire season Russia has faced in a decade.” By July 2012, more land in Russia had already burned than in the whole summer of 2010, when intense wildfires affected western Russia. Unlike 2010, most of the 2012 fires have burned in remote parts of eastern and central Siberia. NASA said:
More than 17,000 wildfires had burned more than 30 million hectares (74 million acres) through August 2012, according to researchers at the Sukachev Institute of Forest in the Russian Academy of Sciences. In comparison, 20 million hectares burned last year, which was roughly the average between 2000 and 2008, according to an analysis of … data published in 2010.
The image above is from NASA Aqua satellite on September 11, 2012. These fires are burning in Tomsk, a region of south central Siberia. NASA said:
Thick smoke billowed from numerous wildfires near the Ob River and mixed with haze and clouds that arrived from the southwest.
Deborah Byrd created the EarthSky radio series in 1991 and founded EarthSky.org in 1994. Today, she serves as Editor-in-Chief of this website. She has won a galaxy of awards from the broadcasting and science communities, including having an asteroid named 3505 Byrd in her honor. A science communicator and educator since 1976, Byrd believes in science as a force for good in the world and a vital tool for the 21st century. "Being an EarthSky editor is like hosting a big global party for cool nature-lovers," she says.