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Situation in and around Lake Baikal close to catastrophic


Massive wildfires are burning around Rusia's Lake Baikal – world's largest and oldest freshwater lake – for the last month and a half, and the situation is now close to catastrophic. But as if that wasn't enough, experts are saying underwater lake habitat around some areas amount to an environmental disaster. At Severobaikalsk, for example, water samples showed the lake was 'dead' and facing 'intensive bacteriological decay'.

Viktor Klimkin, Director of the Oversight and Prevention Department of the Russian Emergencies Ministry, said that the fires are a result of a multitude of factors, natural and artificial alike. "It hasn't been raining in some areas, the summer has been very dry and hot, and there are strong winds blowing the fire at the same time. On top of that, some of regional officials preferred to go on holidays instead of working hard to stop fire." 

Economy and environment hugely affected

Alexander Bryukhanov, World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) forest coordinator warned that Siberia's famous coniferous forests – notably pine, fir and spruce – are being hit hardest.

"These sorts of trees don't have bark strong enough to protect from fire, and they recover very slowly after fire," Bryukhanov said for The Siberian Times. "Mid-sized mammals, such as fox, lynx, hare, marten and others are the most affected." 

Wildfires raging around Lake Baikal on September 3, 2015. Image credit: NASA Aqua/MODIS.

According to the AFP, fires are now raging in nearby forests, especially on its eastern shore in the region of Buryatia, engulfing an area three times the size of land burnt by wildfires in California this year. 36 separate fires blazed across 1 434 square km (555 square miles) on Thursday, September 3, 2015, the state forestry agency said.

Regional authorities have advised the public to stay indoors as much as possible to avoid air pollution after raised levels of nitrogen dioxide and carbon monoxide were recorded in some districts.


#buryadmongolia #buryatia #siberia #baikal #lake #wildfire #bank

A photo posted by @erdenchono on



#buryadmongolia #buryatia #siberia #baikal #lake #wildfire #bank

A photo posted by @erdenchono on


According to The Siberian Times, the shocking scenes came amid a warning from a senior politician that wildfires now pose the greatest threat to the lake.

Mikhail Slipenchuk, deputy head of the Russian parliament's committee on natural resources and ecology, said: "Fires near the lake's shores actually kill the water arteries, thus damaging the water balance in the lake".

YouTube video

Baikal – no longer the cleanest lake on Earth

Dr Oleg Timoshkin, researcher at the Russian Academy of Sciences in Irkutsk, is warning that humans living near Lake Baikal are having a dire impact on a lake which was once believed to be one of the cleanest, if not the cleanest, on this planet.

Timoshkin paints a worrying, even alarming, account of the damage to its waters. Warning of the human impact on the lake, he said "Baikal can't swallow it all!"

Diseased sponge, of which some are giving the appearance of 'disgusting black slime' – is rife in parts of the lake. Elsewhere household waste has been thrown into Baikal in 'massive' quantities.

The underwater lake habitat around the resort of Listvyanka in Irkutsk region amounts to an environmental disaster, while at Severobaikalsk water samples showed the lake was 'dead' and facing 'intensive bacteriological decay'.

Featured image: Lake Baikal wildfire – August 2015. Credit: Chono Erdenebayar.


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  1. Stupid People and Stupid “SuperPowers” We the human stupid apes are destroying this planet – until there is nothing but toxic sand and dirt to eat and drink! It is pathetic that these superpowers like USA and Russia – have and build enough bombs to blow everyone one up – think they are so “Great” cause they can put an ape man on the moon – But lack the technology and means to put out fires!!!! Pathetic – if there aliens out there – they must think we are completely STUPID!

  2. Surely everyone on your website knows of the huge helium airships to be used for very heavy cargo lifting. Take one or several of these airships and have it converted to firefighting ship. Heat shield tiles used on the NASA space shuttle would cover the entire bottom and up the sides. Huge gyroscopes mounted internally to stabilize the ship during heavy winds. Ship would land on any body of water to refill the tanks. Water cannons mounted around the circumference would be used when and where needed. Ship could stay on edge of fire and avoid getting directly over top of it. If multiple ships were were available, one ship could stay on site while the others refill their water tanks. I must tell you this concept has been on my mind for nearly twenty years now. Fires would be put out as easily as one would blow out a match. Ultimate firefighting weapon. And not just wooded areas. How about tall skyscrapers. Think of the lives that could have been saved on September 11th 2001.

  3. Robert, you’re not wrong, but why post that on an article about a wildfire? Wildfires are one of the few things that aren’t humans’ fault, haha. They get worse when we don’t allow small ones to clear away the tinder! Maybe that’s at play here.

  4. !!! – “Having just ‘Posted’ to Facebook, – this encore will simply be an reiteration: “Humans! – the deadliest life-form occupying virtually all regions of the Globe! Like ‘Cancer’ is the scourge of humankind, humans exhibit the same characteristics: “Eventually overwhelming the Host’s own defences and killing it! – Humans are engaged in doing likewise to its own species!”

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