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Russia’s coldest city suffocates under a thick blanket of smog from September wildfires

By The Siberian Times reporter
25 September 2020

Residents of Yakutsk struggle to breathe as toxic air causes head, eye and throat aches.

The lengthy wildfires season in Yakutia follows record-hot Arctic summer with the world’s Pole of Cold, Verkhoyansk, registering a temperature of 38C on 17 June 2020. Picture above is from the Khrest-Khaldzhai living settlement east of Yakutsk

It’s day five when people living in Yakutsk wake up to heavy smog brought from wildfires raging west, east and north of Russia’s capital of diamonds and permafrost. 

This year’s wildfires season has been one of the longest in the republic of Yakutia’s history, stretching till the end of September when usually air temperature in Russia’s coldest inhabited region goes into steady negatives. 

‘It’s been like living in the Silent Hill. We've used to have smoke in summers in the past, but lately is has been simply awful. My eldest son has asthma and it affects him badly; we need to wait for short windows of lighter smog to be able to get outside’, said local resident Yelena. 

Russia’s coldest city suffocates under a thick blanket of smog from September wildfires


Russia’s coldest city suffocates under a thick blanket of smog from September wildfires


Russia’s coldest city suffocates under a thick blanket of smog from September wildfires


Russia’s coldest city suffocates under a thick blanket of smog from September wildfires



Russia’s coldest territory suffocates under a thick blanket of smog from September wildfires. Pictures and video from Amginsky and Tomponsky districts of Yakutia


The city’s mayor Sardana Avksentyeva asked her fellow residents to stay indoors till the smoke clears away, and to take extra care when getting outside. 

‘The city has been for days shrouded in thick smoke. We all suffer from serious discomfort, today even my eyes sting. I stay outdoors a lot, I know how hard it is to breathe.

'People with various illnesses and our elderly people are the worst hit, and of course we all worry that our children breathe it as well’, the mayor wrote on her instagram as she shared a map of wildfires raging all around the capital city. 

21 wildfires are currently active on the territory of the republic, said local Ministry of Emergencies, warning about high threat of smoke in at least ten district from Yakutia’s Arctic areas to its capital city. 

Russia’s coldest city suffocates under a thick blanket of smog from September wildfires


Russia’s coldest city suffocates under a thick blanket of smog from September wildfires


Russia’s coldest city suffocates under a thick blanket of smog from September wildfires


Russia’s coldest city suffocates under a thick blanket of smog from September wildfires


Russia’s coldest city suffocates under a thick blanket of smog from September wildfires


Russia’s coldest city suffocates under a thick blanket of smog from September wildfires


Russia’s coldest city suffocates under a thick blanket of smog from September wildfires
Current map of wildfires in the Republic of Yakutia, and pictures from Yakutsk and from around the city


Gloomy pictures from some of Yakutia’s remote districts show villages completely covered in smoke, with local residents complaining that they struggle to find way home.

The lengthy wildfires season in Yakutia follows record-hot Arctic summer with the world’s Pole of Cold, Verkhoyansk, registering a temperature of 38C on 17 June 2020. 

On 19 June the northernmost fire was caught by satellites above the Arctic circle.

First rains are due to arrive to Yakutsk on weekend, promising a bit of relief to the chocking city.

Video by Ruslan Ochirov below is from the city of Yakutsk, pictures from the town of Mirny, 820km west of Yakutsk


Russia’s coldest city suffocates under a thick blanket of smog from September wildfires

Russia’s coldest city suffocates under a thick blanket of smog from September wildfires

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