Russian Firefighter

Photograph by Mark Thiessen, National Geographic

A Russian firefighter rappels into the Siberian forest from an Mi-8 helicopter. Russia's aerial firefighting organization, the Avialesookhrana, is the largest of its kind in the world. Some 4,000 firefighters patrol 11 time zones in Soviet-era helicopters and biplanes, dousing the country's 20,000 to 35,000 wildfires every year.

See more photos of Russian fire seasons in this National Geographic News photo gallery: "Wildfire Pictures: Russia Burns, Moscow Chokes."