Fireman Kapustin Vasily (back left) and local helpers near Yert.

Fireman Kapustin Vasily (back left) and local helpers near Yert.

Foto: Emile Ducke / DER SPIEGEL

Siberian Smokejumpers Climate Change Creates New Challenges for Russian Firefighters

Russia's president once declared that climate change is caused by "invisible changes in the galaxy." Now, large parts of Yakutia in Siberia are on fire. The permafrost is threatened and the government response has been inadequate.
By Christian Esch in Yakutsk
DER SPIEGEL 31/2021
SPIEGEL International
Pedestrians in Yakutsk: The end of days seems nigh

Pedestrians in Yakutsk: The end of days seems nigh

Foto: Emile Ducke / Emile Ducke für DER SPIEGEL
A fireman sets a backfire to help contain a forest fire near Yert.

A fireman sets a backfire to help contain a forest fire near Yert.

Foto: Emile Ducke / Emile Ducke für DER SPIEGEL
Smoke above the village of Yert as seen during the observation flight

Smoke above the village of Yert as seen during the observation flight

Foto: Emile Ducke / DER SPIEGEL
In 2018 Putin speculated that "invisible changes in the galaxy" are the cause of climate change.
A forest fire near Yert

A forest fire near Yert

Foto: Emile Ducke / DER SPIEGEL
"The forest provides people here with everything – it nourishes and warms and protects."
Alexei Sakharov, the head of the village of Yert in front of the offices of the local administration

Alexei Sakharov, the head of the village of Yert in front of the offices of the local administration

Foto: Emile Ducke / DER SPIEGEL
Svyatoslav Kolesov (left), a flight observer for the special firefighting unit Avialesookhrana, and DER SPIEGEL Moscow correspondent Christian Esch at the airfield in Berdigestyakh, Yakutia. The Antonov biplane is behind them.

Svyatoslav Kolesov (left), a flight observer for the special firefighting unit Avialesookhrana, and DER SPIEGEL Moscow correspondent Christian Esch at the airfield in Berdigestyakh, Yakutia. The Antonov biplane is behind them.

Foto: Emile Ducke / DER SPIEGEL