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Siberian Wildfires Are Fully Extinguished, Authorities Say

Emergency Situations Ministry

Russian authorities have extinguished the remaining forest fires in Siberia that covered an area the size of Belgium and caused at least $100 million worth of damage at their peak.

Huge swathes of Siberia and Russia’s Arctic have been engulfed in wildfires this summer, with smog reaching major cities in the area. Major social media campaigns decried the authorities’ slow response to the fires, while scientists and environmentalists around the world rang the alarm over the fires’ carbon emissions.

“There are no forest fires on Russian territory as of midnight Sept. 30,” the Aerial Forest Protection Service, a government agency, announced Monday.

Fire season remains active across almost all of Russia and a fire protection regime has been instituted in 31 regions, the service said in a daily bulletin.

The wildfires in Siberia were thought to have been triggered by a combination of lightning and human activity. 

Russian prosecutors said in August that some of the Irkutsk region wildfires were started on purpose by arsonists trying to conceal illegal logging activity.

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