“The smell of burning, as if grass is being burnt”: smog of Siberian fires covers Naberezhnye Chelny

The smoke from burning a million hectares if the forest in Siberia has covered the automotive city

In the afternoon on 25 July, Naberezhnye Chelny was shrouded in a thick suffocating veil of smoke. In the air, according to the citizens, there was the smell of burning, “as if the grass was burnt”. It turned out that smog from forest fires in Siberia reached the motor city. According to the environmentalists, the “haze” is moving at a speed of 40 km/h, but the maximum permissible concentration in the atmosphere was not exceeded. Read more in the material of Realnoe Vremya.

Smog covers the city

Smoky fog came to Naberezhnye Chelny on 25 July around the afternoon. Before that, news feeds were full of reports of smog in Bashkiria, where people were complaining of shortness of breath and pain in the eyes. The citizens reported that they saw haze in neighbouring areas as well.

“The sky is overcast, it is cloudy. Although the sun shines through the haze. There is a slight smell of burning, as if the grass is being burnt or something is burning nearby. Eyes are not particularly hurt, as the Bashkirs wrote, but it is harder to breathe than usual,” Oleg Zhuravlev, a citizen of Naberezhnye Chelny, told Realnoe Vremya.

A number of local residents reported “haze hanging over the city”. Some complained that in addition to the unpleasant smell of burning they has itchy throat. “I do not know whether this is due to smog or just the heat, but the street is really very stuffy, there is not enough oxygen. Every time you inhale so that you are like standing near the fire, and it is impossible to move away from the ‘fire’ because such air is everywhere,” the citizen of Naberezhnye Chelny says.

Echo of Siberian fires

As the ministry of emergency situations of Tatarstan told Realnoe Vrmeya, there are no fires in Naberezhnye Chelny and in general in Tatarstan. The reason for the origin of smog was explained in the ministry of ecology and natural resources of the republic.

“After reports of the smog and the smell of burning, our specialists went to the place. The maximum permissible concentration in the atmosphere has not been registered. Operational contacts with the representatives of the republican Rospotrebnadzor and meteorologist has been established. This so-called “haze” hanging over Naberezhnye Chelny is a consequence of forest fires in Siberia. In our republic, nothing is burning, smog goes through Bashkiria, moves somewhere at a speed of 40 km/h,” Press Secretary of the ministry of ecology of the republic Lilia Mulyukova reported to Realnoe Vremya.

Large-scale disaster

Meanwhile, forests in Siberia are burning on an area of a million hectares. The natural disaster is raging in Irkutsk Oblast, Krasnoyarsk Krai, Altai, Yamal, Khanty-Mansiysk Autonomous District and Yakutia. The scale of the incident has been called record.

Due to the fires in the forests, Irkutsk Oblast was forced to close the airport in Kirensk. Lack of visibility forced one of the aircraft to return after takeoff. Since July 11, the decree of the governor of the region, the state of emergency in the forests of a regional nature was introduced on the whole territory of the Baikal region.

The Emercom of Russia in the Yamal-Nenets Autonomous District reported that in the region “there are 12 centres of natural seats of fire on a total area of 649 hectares.” At the same time, the district institution Yamal Forests reported nine fires in the central part of the district on the area of 510,9 hectares, in addition, eight fires were localized on the area of 495,9 hectares.

The forest fires in Krasnoyarsk Krai covered almost 700,000 hectares. Many fire centres in remote places, the causes of fire — abnormal heat, strong wind, the so-called dry thunderstorms.

Smog from forest fires in Siberia extended to the whole Urals. The smoky veil was noted in Yekaterinburg, Kurgan and Chelyabinsk, later — in Bashkiria. The Bashkir Department of Hydrometeorology and Environmental Monitoring commented on reports of the smog:

“The atmospheric phenomenon of fog, smoke, smoky haze registered by the weather stations on 25 July are associated with the establishment of high pressure area on the territory of the republic. Weak winds up to 5 m/s and downward movements in the weather-forming layer of the atmosphere over the territory of the republic contribute to the accumulation of various impurities in the surface layer of the atmosphere,” the agency's website says.

The state committee of the republic for emergency situations reported that they received 28 messages from the population complaining of smog in the air. However, Bashgidromettsentr said that air samples exceeding maximum permissible concentration of combustion products (dioxide and nitric oxide) were not detected.

By Vasilya Shirshova