Support The Moscow Times!

Wildfire Smoke Blankets Russia’s Third-Largest City

Russian forecasters have warned of higher numbers of Siberian forest fires in 2021 due to hot and dry weather. Alexander Oshchepkov /

Russia’s third-largest city of Novosibirsk has been blanketed by smog from dozens of nearby wildfires, with residents gasping for air and local media reporting a distinct smell of smoke in the city center.

Authorities in the Siberian city of 1.7 million on Tuesday issued a so-called “Black Sky” air quality warning, according to the local news website, with smoke-clearing rain not expected until early Wednesday. 

“A bloody sun rose over the city because of the smog,” the outlet reported.

Photos shared by The Siberian Times showed Novosibirsk shrouded in thick sepia-toned air.

Citing global air quality ratings, and Siberia’s news website said concentrations of fine particles and carbon monoxide in the atmosphere dangerously exceed the norm. 

With fire season in full swing across nearly every corner of the country, Russia’s fire map service shows Novosibirsk surrounded by dozens of blazes as close as 10 kilometers away. 

Earlier this year, Russian forecasters warned of higher numbers of Siberian forest fires in 2021 due to hot and dry weather. Russia has set a number of heat records in recent years.

Russian weather officials and environmentalists have linked the forest fires that have ripped across Siberia with increasing regularity in recent years to climate change and lack of funding for the forest service.

Tuesday’s bad air quality alert comes nearly a month after Siberian scientists decided to classify a “bombshell” pollution report out of fear of angering voters ahead of this fall’s legislative elections.

… we have a small favor to ask. As you may have heard, The Moscow Times, an independent news source for over 30 years, has been unjustly branded as a "foreign agent" by the Russian government. This blatant attempt to silence our voice is a direct assault on the integrity of journalism and the values we hold dear.

We, the journalists of The Moscow Times, refuse to be silenced. Our commitment to providing accurate and unbiased reporting on Russia remains unshaken. But we need your help to continue our critical mission.

Your support, no matter how small, makes a world of difference. If you can, please support us monthly starting from just $2. It's quick to set up, and you can be confident that you're making a significant impact every month by supporting open, independent journalism. Thank you.

paiment methods
Not ready to support today?
Remind me later.

Read more