Krasnoyarsk and Novosibirsk suffering smoke pollution and infernos rage in forests after hot, dry weather.
Pictures show the scale of the smoke in major population centres from the raging wildfires with the cause seen mainly as out-of-control forest fires in Krasnoyarsk region, the second largest in Russia.
In Krasnoyarsk city, residents have been told by health officials to go outside only if really necessary.
Here watchdog Rospotrebnadzor confirmed the hygienic standard in the air of the PM 2.5 particles is exceeded by between 1.2 and 2.3 times.
Sensors installed by activists on Saturday showed a ‘dangerous excess of the maximum permissible concentrations’.
Dust, soot and other small particles are shown as present in the air.
On Saturday morning, the MPC values ranged from 42 to 74, with the safe value of 25 units.
Later the sensors showed readings from 221 to 344.
The limited visibility and smell of burning is observed in all districts of Krasnoyarsk, and in villages and towns in the vast region, for example, Lesosibirsk and Achinsk.
The regional government in Krasnoyarsk blamed lightning for starting most fires.
They reported: ‘An emergency regime is introduced in the region, (and) people have limited access to forests.’
The pollution from wildfires in Krasnoyarsk has spread with air flows over a huge geographical area to other regions.
A strong smell of burning and thick haze covered Tomsk city on Saturday.
Experts explain this was caused by high humidity in the city plus air masses blowing from regions where the wildfires are raging.
A representative of the Russian Ministry of Emergencies in the Tomsk region explained: ‘Forest fires in Krasnoyarsk region caused the smell of burning and haze over Tomsk.
‘There are currently no forest fires in (our) region.
According to the observations of the Tomsk Centre for Hydrometeorology and Environmental Monitoring, the excess of maximum permissible concentrations of pollutants has not been observed in the atmospheric air.’
Residents in Kemerovo complained in social networks about the smell of burning and the smoke that stands over the city.
A local weather expert said: ‘We are in the centre of a cyclone.
’It pumps in the air and directs it from the north to us.
‘Tomorrow the north wind is also expected… but rains may clear the area, which will purify the atmosphere.’
Siberia’s largest city Novosibirsk was also hit by a smell of burning and there was light haze.
In the morning of July 21 smog appeared and the smell significantly increased.
The CityAir service estimates air pollution at 8 points out of 10, the situation began to deteriorate at about 2 am.
This was despite the Ministry of Emergency Situations in Novosibirsk region stating their were no fires on its territory
‘Krasnoyarsk firesafe giving us the smoke,’ said a spokesman. ’The wind is northeasterly.’
According to the Federal Service Avialesokhrana on 21 July, some 492,750 hectares of forests are ablaze in Krasnoyarsk region and only 28,366 are being extinguished.
Smoke from wildfires is observed in several districts of the Irkutsk region, further to the east.
Smoke covered Bratsky, Chunsky, Ust-Ilimsky, Nizhneilimsky and Ust-Kut districts.
As of the morning of 21 July, 86 forest fires are registered in Irkutsk region.
The total area of burning forests is 217,418 hectares.
Fire extinguishing is carried out by forest protection troops.
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