Last update: November 22nd, 2019 at 11:00 am
Fires continued to burn near Russia’s Lake Baikal in mid-June, 2015. The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) captured this true-color image on June 18 as it passed over the region.
The blue waters of Lake Baikal, which usually wears a coat of ice this time of year, can clearly be seen in the west of the image. A cluster of fires emitting heavy smoke fill the grasslands to the west of the lake. In the east a cluster of fires burns near Zeya Reservoir. Snow remains only the highest elevations in the mountains near Lake Baikal.
A warm spring and relatively dry winter in this region have set the stage for a heavy fire season. Temperatures hovered in the 70s near mid-June, creating favorable fire conditions. Temperatures are usually cooler until late July/early August when the bulk of the wildfires in this area normally erupt, but fires have started as early as April this year in the land near Lake Baikal. Careless handling with fire and withered dry grass fires on the croplands reportedly were the main reasons for the fires.
At the time this image was captured, the Voice of Russia reports, “The Siberian Federal District reported 52 forest fires on an area of 53,644.1 hectares (132,557 acres) as of Thursday morning, the district department of the Federal Forestry Agency said. The wildfire rate is the highest in the Trans-Baikal territory – twelve fires burning on 48,150 (118,981 acres) hectares. There are 13 fires on 2,578.5 (6,370 acres) hectares in the Krasnoyarsk territory and four fires on 2,229 (5,507 acres) hectares in the Omsk region, the report runs.” Of note: Lake Baikal is 636 kilometers long (395 miles). It is the deepest lake in the world and by volume holds the largest amount of fresh water.