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Human role in Russian wild fires


Anomalies in temperature and precipitation in northern Russia over the past few years have been viewed as manifestations of anthropogenic climate change1, prompting suggestions that this may also account for exceptional forest fires in the region2,3. Here we examine the number of forest-fire events across the boreal Russian Federation for the period 2002 to 2005 in ‘intact’ forests, where human influence is limited, and in ‘non-intact’ forests, which have been shaped by human activity4. Our results show that there were more fires in years during which the weather was anomalous, but that more than 87% of fires in boreal Russia were started by people.

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Figure 1: Maps of the Russian Federation showing areas of intact forest and the locations of forest fires over 2002–2005.


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Correspondence to Frédéric Achard.

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The authors declare no competing financial interests.

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Mollicone, D., Eva, H. & Achard, F. Human role in Russian wild fires. Nature 440, 436–437 (2006).

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