- Donald Trump offered to help Vladimir Putin combat wildfires raging across Siberia, a result of July’s record-breaking European heatwave.
- The Kremlin said on Wednesday that Trump phoned Putin, who expressed his “sincere gratitude” and promised to take-up the offer if needed.
- 7.4 million acres of Siberian woodland – a patch of land equivalent to the size of Maryland – has so-far been burned, with Russian military deployed on Wednesday to contain the blaze.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Donald Trump called Russian President Vladimir Putin and offered to help him extinguish wildfires raging through forests in Siberia, the Kremlin has said.
7.4 million acres of Siberian woodland – a patch of land equivalent to the size of Maryland – has so-far been lost, part of damage caused by the record-breaking heatwave which raged across Europe in July.
“The U.S. president offered Russia cooperation in fighting forest fires in Siberia,” a statement from the Kremlin, quoted by Reuters, said.
Putin told Trump that Moscow would take him up on the offer if necessary, Reuters said.
Putin also “expressed his sincere gratitude for such an attentive attitude and for the offer of help and support.”
The Russian army was on Wednesday deployed to contain the blaze, launching 10 planes and 10 helicopters equipped with firefighting capabilities.
Russia declared a state of emergency over wildfires in the southern Siberian provinces Krasnoyarsk Krai and Irkutsk on July 30.
Ecological catastrophe in Russia: wildfires have created over 4 million sq km smoke lid over central northern Asia. Big Siberian cities are covered with toxic haze that had already reached Urals. #потушитепожарывсибири #stopfires #stopclimatechange #GreenpeaceFire pic.twitter.com/inNSOnOGvv
— Greenpeace Russia (@greenpeaceru) July 26, 2019
In November 2018, Trump claimed Russia’s neighbor Finland never has any problems with wildfire because they “rake” the forest floor.
Trump made the comment while visiting Paradise, California, a town destroyed by the Camp Fire, which killed more than 80 people.
Finland’s president Sauli Niinisto later clarified raking was not a tactic they had ever used, and said he did not remember telling Trump it was.
Fires caused by the July heatwave have broken out in other parts of the Arctic region, like in Alaska and Greenland.
Since the beginning of June, the Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service observed more than 100 intense and long-lasting fires in the Arctic Circle, the World Meteorological Organization said on July 12.