Half Country is Covered by Forest Fires

Half Country is Covered by Forest Fires

Photo: https://ria.ru

Several regions of Siberia, Trans-Baikal and the Far East have been engulfed by forest fires since the beginning of 2022. In recent months, thousands of hectares of forest have burned. Populated areas have also fallen into the risk zone.

In 2022, the scale of forest fires in Russia has become catastrophic. According to the Russian branch of Greenpeace, in the first four months of this year the area of wildfires was twice as large as during the same period in 2021.

According to the information system of state remote monitoring of forest fires, last year, the fire has covered 915,600 hectares of forests, and this year the area of natural fires has already reached 2.2 million hectares.

Siberia is burning

According to the press service of the Siberian Forest Protection Service, by April 17, at least, 1.2 mln ha of forests in Siberia were affected by fire, 561 hectares in the Irkutsk region, two fires on an area of 437 hectares in Khakassia, 16 centers on an area of 343 hectares in the Krasnoyarsk Territory, 157 hectares the Omsk region, and 96 ha in the Altai Territory.

Smoke from natural fires has enveloped Novosibirsk, Omsk, Tyumen, and Krasnoyarsk. Residents of cities can see forests engulfed in flames from their windows, and in villages the fire is demolishing entire streets from the face of the earth. There is heavy smoke in the settlements, and in some places the air contains more hazardous substances.

Natural fires are raging in the Far East

Last weekend, nine blazes with the area of more than 1,800 hectares in Khabarovsk Territory were extinguished as a result of careless handling of fire, said the press service of the governor of the region.

From the beginning of the fire-hazardous season, which officially started on March 30, 12 forest fires on the total area of 1,900 ha have started in the Khabarovsk region.

According to the press service of the regional government, on April 20, 37 forest fires with a total area of 2,585 ha were registered in Primorye, of which 30 were extinguished and six were localized by the morning of April 21. In total, since the beginning of the year in Primorye Territory eliminated 442 forest and natural fires on an area of more than 40,000 hectares.

Burning April

On April 2, a forest fire in the Krasnoyarsk Territory spread to a dacha village, destroying 20 houses. The fire broke out in the forest due to burning garbage, spreading to the dacha village due to the strong wind in the trees. The residents had to be evacuated to nearby schools and the village club.

In the town of Belovo in the Kemerovo Region, almost an entire street was put on fire on April 14 as a result of an unauthorized blaze of grass. There are raised, charred fences, brick debris, charred buildings, collapsed houses and melted metal on the street where the fire raged for two days ago. It seems to have destroyed everything in its path: houses, outbuildings, trees, and fields.

Burning of dry grass on April 15 resulted in fire damage to 9 summer houses and outbuildings in the Usolsky district of the Irkutsk Region.

On April 16, the fire that broke out in Cherlaksky District of the Omsk Region started at a landfill, wind gusts spread it to the forest, and then the fire spread to the Yubileyny children's camp located in a pine forest.

On April 17, 60 dacha buildings in Kansk in the Krasnoyarsk Territory were affected by a fire that spread to the buildings from dry grass. The total area of the fire amounted to 10 hectares.

Five residential buildings in Kubekovo were destroyed by the fire in Yemelyanovsky District, which swept through all the neighboring gardening communities. Gardeners had to fight for their property for more than a day. They had to dig up their houses, carry water in buckets and extinguish the fire on the approaches to the plots.

According to the Ministry of Emergency Situations, in a district of Krasnoyarsk, the fire spread from burning grass to parked cars, four of which were completely destroyed as a result.

On April 23, impressive photos and videos were published in the Weather 25 Region Telegram channel. The pictures clearly show how in Ussuriysk the flames are getting close to residential buildings, both high-rise and private. Smoke from the fire soars many meters high enveloping almost the entire region. The fire itself can be seen from almost anywhere in the city.

Children who set fire to grass in Transbaikalia

The number of natural fires in Transbaikalia exceeds last year's figures by 15 times. According to the press service of the regional government, there have been 403 landscape fires in the Trans-Baikal Territory since the beginning of 2022. The area covered by the fire amounted to more than 40,000 hectares.

Children are one of the causes of multiple landscape fires. In Zabaikalye, investigative authorities of the Ministry of Emergency Situations of Russia identified 58 arsonists, 22 of whom are children. Young residents of the region set dry grass on fire, build fires in windy weather and even use fire as a fuse for gas cylinders.

With regard to 22 child arsonists, materials of checks were transferred to local authorities for consideration by commissions on minors' affairs. In addition, parents will have to reimburse the costs of fire suppression. However, the greatest danger for children is that they can become victims of their own hooliganism.

“Children don't understand that they can be more than just the perpetrators of a fire and destroy someone's property. They can become a prisoner of fire and be killed themselves. Dear Parents! Please, conduct talks with your children about fire safety. Tell them that they can not play with matches, lighters. Including setting fire to dry grass,” said Deputy Head of the Main Directorate of EMERCOM of Russia in Transbaikal Region, Anton Markelov.

Education and fire prevention can save us

“In brief, the main causes of forest fires I would outline as follows. Stupidity of people who, for example, do not do the basic things to prevent fires, imperfect laws and unenforceable rules that somehow need to live and work,” says Grigory Kuksin, Head of the fire prevention department of the environmental organization Greenpeace Russia.

He believes that the situation with forest fires in Russia will not improve until measures are taken to combat climate change and educate people about the real causes of fires.

“Whether it is legislation, responsible work, or educational activities, only people change everything in the end,” said Kuksin. “Not money, not super equipment, but people who decided to change the world around them.”

According to a survey by the ROMIR agency, more than half of Russians do not know the causes of forest fires at all. People believe that most often they catch fire “by themselves,” well, in an extreme case, for example, from a thunderstorm.

In fact, according to him, forest fires are the result of human activity in 95% of cases. According to the same survey, only one third of Russian citizens know where to call if they see a forest fire.

So, the best thing to do is to educate people and prevent fires, Kuksin said. Then there will be no need for huge expenses to extinguish them.

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