Off the east coast of Russia, Sakhalin Island is covered by millions of hectares of boreal forest. In 1998, fires destroyed over 2 million hectares in eastern Russia. Ashes and soot contaminated the river system where 130 fish species can be found. The region contains numbers of species threatened with extinction such as the renowned Siberian tiger. While fires may be necessary for forest health, their increasing frequency caused by human activity threatens the ecosystem.