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Passenger planes disrupted, delayed & canceled in Siberia as smoke from vast wildfires lowers visibility to dangerous levels

Passenger planes disrupted, delayed & canceled in Siberia as smoke from vast wildfires lowers visibility to dangerous levels
Some airports in Russia’s Siberia region are currently suffering from serious overcrowding as smoke from vast forest wildfires has caused a severe drop in visibility, leaving many planes stuck on the ground, unable to take off.

According to the latest reports, the fires, which have engulfed Russia’s distant Yakutia region for two months, are currently covering an area of 1.41 million hectares. The country’s Ministry of Emergency Situations is working to fight the flames, and has put out fires of more than 253,000 hectares during the past 24 hours.

However, the sheer volume of smoke rising from the wildfires has caused havoc throughout Siberia. Some smoke has been blown thousands of kilometers, severely disrupting air traffic in cities like Irkutsk and Krasnoyarsk. While some flights have been delayed, others have been completely canceled.

In Irkutsk, near Lake Baikal, smoke from forest fires has disrupted flights for the fourth day running, forcing planes to land at different airports, such as Ulan-Ude and Krasnoyarsk – both hundreds of kilometers away from the intended destination.

Yakutia, known worldwide for its frigid temperatures, is located around 5,000 kilometers east of Moscow. It is the home of the world’s coldest permanently inhabited settlement, Oymyakon. The village, which has about 500 residents, regularly sees temperatures drop below -40C in the winter. Last year, a Yakutian town broke the record for the highest temperature ever recorded within the Arctic Circle, hitting a maximum of 38C.

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Speaking last year to the Valdai Club think tank, Putin called for an end to “unrestrained and unlimited consumption,” noting that tensions regarding climate change had “reached a critical point.”

“It affects pipeline systems, residential districts built on permafrost, and so on,” Putin explained. “If as much as 25% of the near-surface layers of permafrost – which is about three or four meters – melts by 2100, we will feel the effect very strongly.”

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