Ferocious Wildfires Threaten Lake Baikal, Siberia
Posted by feww on August 24, 2015
World’s biggest freshwater lake facing potential ecological catastrophe
Lake Baikal contains 20% of the unfrozen freshwater on the planet
Dozens of raging wildfires threaten Lake Baikal in Siberia, the world’s largest freshwater lake, as they burn uncontrollably along its shores, according to local media.
Major wildfires have been destroying forests surrounding “the world’s oldest and deepest lake” since July, said a report.
“Fires near the lake’s shores actually kill the water arteries, thus damaging the water balance in the lake,” said the deputy head of the Russian parliament’s committee on natural resources and ecology.
At least 36 major blazes, fueled by drought and abnormally high temperatures, have scorched about 77,000 hectares of the surrounding pristine forests.
“It feels like doomsday,” the report quoted an eyewitness as saying.
On August 15, Siberian Times reported:
“More than 100 fires are burning on an area of almost 150,000 hectares in Siberia, according to official figures, which critics say often underestimate the problem.”
Images are posted here.
Lake Baikal is a rift lake located in southern Siberia, between Irkutsk Oblast (northwest) and the Buryat Republic (southeast), Russia.
The largest (volume: 23,615 km³) freshwater lake in the world, Lake Baikal contains about 20% of the planet’s unfrozen surface fresh water. Baikal is also the world’s
- Deepest lake at 1,642m, and is one of the planet’s clearest lakes.
- Oldest lake, with an estimated age of 25 million years.
- The seventh-largest lake by surface area (31,722 km²).
- It contains more water than all the North American Great Lakes combined.