Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Russia Wildfire Is Size of Vermont and Delaware: Greenpeace

[NBC] Colossal wildfires in Russia have burned an area the size Vermont and Delaware combined, Greenpeace said Tuesday, amid fears the country could suffer its worst wildfire season in more than 100 years.
The season is still in its early stages, but wildfires blazing across the country's far east have already scorched through more than 11,500 square miles, according to the environmental charity.
The largest area burned in a single wildfire season in the 21st century was 50,000 square miles in 2013 — around the size of Alabama.
Alexey Yaroshenko, the head of Greenpeace Russia's forest program, said that this year may top that figure.
"Most of these wildfires are man-made," he told NBC News by phone.
Many of the blazes are started by villagers who are torching the previous year's grass make way for new growth. But the practice often backfires. This year alone, four settlements have been forced to evacuate before being engulfed by fire, although no casualties have been reported. Read More