In Russia’s coldest region of Yakutia, fires have burned through an area larger than Portugal, with 50 forest fires currently ablaze.

Firefighters and volunteers work at the scene of a forest fire near Magan village in Yakutsk region, republic of Sakha also known as Yakutia, Russia on August 10, 2021.
Firefighters and volunteers work at the scene of a forest fire near Magan village in Yakutsk region, republic of Sakha also known as Yakutia, Russia on August 10, 2021. (AP)

Russia's central regions have battled "extreme" wildfires, fuelled by an unusual heatwave that comes after forest fires linked to the climate crisis ravaged Siberia for most of the summer.

Authorities were fighting 15 wildfires in the Urals region of Sverdlovsk, the Emergencies Ministry said on Wednesday.

The region – which lies on the border of Europe and Asia – faced "extreme fire hazard" due to a heatwave, it added.

Images on social media on Tuesday showed flames on either side of a federal highway between regional capital Yekaterinburg and the Urals city of Perm, forcing the road shut for most of the day, according to reports.

Fires had meanwhile grown so intense in Mordovia, a region southeast of Moscow, that firefighters were forced to escape from a "ring of fire", the ministry said.

And in the Nizhny Novgorod region east of Moscow, nine planes provided by the Emergencies Ministry, the Defence Ministry and the Russian National Guard had dropped 129 tonnes of water onto a large wildfire spreading to neighbouring Mordovia.

Authorities had deployed 1,200 firefighters to put out the blaze, the Emergencies Ministry said.

President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday pledged hundreds of millions of dollars to protect the country's forests, saying the nation must learn from the "unprecedented" wildfires that engulfed swathes of Siberia.

READ MORE: Hundreds of volunteers in Russia join battle against wildfires

Area larger than Portugal burned

In the country's largest and coldest region of Yakutia, fires have burned through an area larger than Portugal.

The Emergencies Ministry said on Wednesday that there were 50 forest fires now burning in the region.

Officials in hard-hit regions have called for resources and economic support from Moscow to deal with the damage.

Experts blame the huge fires that have ripped across Russia's vast territory in recent years on climate change, negligence and underfunded forestry management services.

Russia's forestry agency says fires this year have torn through more than 173,000 sq km (67,000 square miles), making it the second-worst season since the turn of the century.

A former sceptic of manmade climate crisis, Putin has called on authorities to do everything possible to help Russians affected by the gigantic fires.

READ MORE: Climate change 'multiplies' Siberian heatwave 600 times

Source: AFP