Paratroopers from Russia’s Aerial Forest Protection Service have manually put out ten hard-to-reach fires in Siberia’s Lena Pillars Nature Park. The parachutists located the flames after jumping from a plane over the forest.
The firefighters – also known as ‘smokejumpers’ – landed in between the burning trees, carrying 20-liter specialist forest fire extinguishers.
The Lena Pillars Nature Park is located in Yakutia, in the east of Siberia, and is recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. The pillars are hundreds of meters high, and visiting the park involves a 180km boat ride from Yakutsk, the capital of Yakutia.
The region, famous worldwide for its bone-chilling temperatures, is located around 5,000 kilometers east of Moscow. Yakutia is the home of the world’s coldest permanently-inhabited settlement, Oymyakon. The village, with about 500 residents, regularly sees temperatures drop below -40 degrees Celsius in winter.
However, in recent years, the region has regularly been the location of alarming summer wildfires. Last week, it was reported that around 603,000 hectares of forest are in flames, including 30,500 hectares of specially protected natural areas, such as the Lena Pillars Park.
According to the latest estimates, following an extensive fire-fighting campaign, around 55,600 hectares of Russia are currently ablaze, including 18,420 in the Yakutia region.
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Earlier this month, authorities in Yakutia rejected an offer of help from Leonardo DiCaprio, after the Hollywood A-Lister pledged to assist the area’s battle against wildfires.
In a conversation with blogger and activist Roza Dyachkovskaya, DiCaprio revealed that he would speak to his team and then contact the local government.
“I have heard you,” he wrote. “I and my management will look into it, then we will talk with the authorities in charge to see how we can be of help.”
In response, local Deputy Minister of Ecology Sergey Sivtsev politely declined the offer, but suggested the actor visit the region.
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