Video: Russians Flee From Inside Forest Fire

Russian President Dmitri Medvedev has declared a state of emergency in response to the forest fires that have already caused thousands to evacuate and have destroyed or damaged 77 towns or village. Russian officials reported over 500 new fires in seven oblasts, or administrative districts, over the past 24 hours alone. Because much of Western Russia has been stricken with record temperatures and weeks of drought, it is exceedingly difficult for officials to predict where the next wildfire will begin or how quickly it will spread. At least 40 people have died so far trying to escape the fires. The casualties almost included these four young Russian men, who videotaped their flight out of a smoldering wildfire in the Nizhny Novgorod oblast:



The men, who at one point remark that the road itself is on fire, quickly turn from awe-struck to panicked once they realize that they are stuck. They briefly debate fleeing on foot but agree that leaving the car would block the road and doom the people in the cars behind them. They return the car to the road and finally emerge from the worst of the blaze. One of the men comments, "it was like being in hell."

The most revealing moment of the video comes near the end when, after driving through for several minutes in near-black darkness, the car emerges from the smoke to show a blue, daytime sky. Many of the fires are burning peat bogs, producing a dark, heavy smoke that is extremely difficult to navigate. As the fires spread to Russia's many bogs, evacuations will continue to be as chaotic, frightening, and dangerous as the one in the video above.

Presented by

Max Fisher is a former writer and editor at The Atlantic.

How to Cook Spaghetti Squash (and Why)

Cooking for yourself is one of the surest ways to eat well. Bestselling author Mark Bittman teaches James Hamblin the recipe that everyone is Googling.

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

How to Cook Spaghetti Squash (and Why)

Cooking for yourself is one of the surest ways to eat well.

Video

Before Tinder, a Tree

Looking for your soulmate? Write a letter to the "Bridegroom's Oak" in Germany.

Video

The Health Benefits of Going Outside

People spend too much time indoors. One solution: ecotherapy.

Video

Where High Tech Meets the 1950s

Why did Green Bank, West Virginia, ban wireless signals? For science.

Video

Yes, Quidditch Is Real

How J.K. Rowling's magical sport spread from Hogwarts to college campuses

Video

Would You Live in a Treehouse?

A treehouse can be an ideal office space, vacation rental, and way of reconnecting with your youth.

More in Global

Just In