Smoke from wildfires, burning in Russia's largest and coldest region, reached the North Pole for the first time in history last week, according to satellite observations.
European Union satellite monitoring service "Copernicus" reported that wildfires in the Siberian Republic of Sakha (Yakutia), caused by hot weather and a record 150-year drought, have already emitted a record 505 megatons of carbon dioxide, with several weeks left until the end of the fire season.
"This week smoke from wildfires traveled more than 3,000 km from Yakutia and reached the North Pole, which seems to be the first case in recorded history," said NASA's Earth Monitoring Unit (MODIS).
Thick smoke covered vast expanses of Siberia before reaching the North Pole, prompting evacuations, fears of deteriorating air quality, and orders to clear firefields of deadwood and fallen trees around threatened settlements.
Smoke was found in 1,300 cities and towns in the Krasnoyarsk Territory alone, west of Sakha, emergency services said.