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The truth and myths about forest fires: Element with the eyes of an expert
It is difficult to talk about forest fires without emotions. For people, this is a horror of uncontrollable elements, a terrible misfortune, bitterness and indignation that fire destroys forests is one of Russia's greatest riches. However, the consequences of forest fires can be described in dry figures. In 2017, 9,2 thousand fires were registered in Russia on the lands of the Forest Fund, their area was 1,4 million hectares, and economic damage reached 15 billion rubles. The figures are huge, but this is significantly less than it was in 2016: then the area of forest fires was 44% more than a year later, and the damage from them amounted to 24 billion rubles. Spring - the beginning of another fire season. How will it be in the Far East and Siberia - in the regions that suffer most from forest fires? What problems do people face that, in the service of their duty, save the forests from fire? We are talking about this with Vitaly Akberdin, the head of the FBU "Avialesoohrana".
- The first forest fire in Russia in 2018 appeared on 7 January in Primorsky Krai, in the Lazovsky State Reserve. Since the beginning of the year as of 13 April, 526 forest fires have been recorded, of which in the Far Eastern Federal District - 349. The area covered by fire amounted to 204,4 thousands of hectares, including 198,1 thousand hectares in the Far East. In the Amur Region, since the beginning of the year, 138 forest fires have occurred (the area covered by fire is 152,2 thousand hectares), in the Primorsky Territory 148 (30 thousand hectares), in the Jewish Autonomous Region 46 (15,1 thousand hectares), in Khabarovsk edge - 17 fires (area covered by fire, - 837 ha).
In the Siberian Federal District from the beginning of the year as of 13 April there were 150 forest fires. Including in the Trans-Baikal Territory - 144 (the area covered by fire, - 6 thousand hectares), in Buryatia - 2 fire on the area of 141 ha, in the Krasnoyarsk Territory - 2 fire (8 ha), in the Irkutsk region - 1 fire (3 ha), in the Tomsk region - 1 fire (0,03 ha).
- In which regions is the most stressful situation with forest fires?
- The rapid descent of snow this spring, dry and warm weather, strong winds, and most importantly, massive dry grass fires in the adjacent areas - all this has sharply worsened the forest fire situation in the Far East and Siberia, especially in the Amur Region, Primorsky and Transbaikal edges. In the Amur region 7 April, the regime of emergencies was introduced in the forests of a regional character, it still operates. A special firefighting regime operates throughout Primorsky Krai, in 27 municipal districts of the Transbaikal Territory and in 20 municipal districts of the Amur Region. As of the beginning of the day 13 April on the territory of the Siberian and Far Eastern Federal Districts, fire fighting services worked on extinguishing 22 forest fires, the area passed by fire amounted to 39 458 ha. Including this 16 fires in the area 39 308 ha in the Amur region; 4 fire on the area of 142 ha in the Trans-Baikal Territory; one fire in Buryatia and the Khabarovsk Territory (5 ha and 3 ha, respectively).
Since the beginning of the year in the Far Eastern Federal District, firefighting services have eliminated 332 fire in the area of 158,8 thousand hectares. In the SFD - 145 forest fires on the total area of 6,1 thousand hectares.
- What forces are involved in the elimination of forest fires?
- In extinguishing fires in two federal districts this year, more than 1,5 thousand people and 300 more than units of equipment were involved. In the Amur Region, in addition to forest fire workers, 96 paratroopers paratroopers of FBU Avialesoohrana were involved in fighting fires, and 604 is still on alert. The general grouping of the PAPS on the territory of Russia, including the federal reserve of the PAPC FBU "Avialesoohrana" and the PAPS of the specialized agencies for forest protection of the subjects of the Russian Federation, is 3,6 thousand people. The forces of the PDAP are mainly working to extinguish forest fires in the aviation zone, in hard-to-reach areas.
When extinguishing forest fires, specialized aviation is used. Since 2017, FBU "Avialesoohrana" in the regions of Siberia and the Far East, most prone to fires, is carrying out works on artificial precipitation with the use of the An-26 "Cyclone" airplane. This aircraft has special equipment of cassette type "Veer". It, with the help of cartridges containing iodine silver, treats cumulonimbus clouds so that it rains on a certain area.
In addition, since 2017 year, "Avialesoohrana" has resumed work on laying the supporting mineralized strips in an explosive way. This is done to stop the spread of fire in hard-to-reach areas. The technology showed high efficiency.
- It is widely believed that the main, most common cause of fires is the "human factor". Is this really so?
- Yes. Every year the main cause of spring forest fires is the same. This is the transition to the forest of fire from the fires of dry grass and the carelessness of people when dealing with fire in the forest. Unfortunately, "man-made" forest fires prevail even in the summer months - their number even exceeds the number of fires that occurred due to thunderstorms.
In April 2018 in Russia, the federal information firefighting campaign "Stop the fire!" Agency of strategic initiatives, Rosleskhoz, FBU "Avialesoohrana", Greenpeace Russia, other organizations supported this campaign. It implies the display of social videos on the airs of federal and regional television channels, subway trains, Russian Railways, the installation of information banners, preventive work with the public, informing people about the work of the direct line of the forest guard on the phone 8-800-100-94-00.
- There is a lot of regular and regular talk about the fact that dry grass next to forests is unacceptable, as well as about careful handling of fire in the forest. And like everyone would know about it. "Arsonists" do not become less with the years?
- As early as November of the year 2015, the government of the Russian Federation made changes to the rules of the fire fighting regime in the Russian Federation. Legislating prohibited the unauthorized burning of dry grass, the breeding of fires on agricultural land. But in practice this decree is not implemented. Only this year and only in the Amur region, during the air monitoring, it was possible to identify nine culprits of dry grass fires. They will be prosecuted. And according to the data published on the website of the government of the Amur Region, intentional arsons of dry grass were made by residents of Blagoveschensky, Zavitinsky, Arkharinsky, Belogorsky, Bureysky and Oktyabrsky districts. Mostly they burned the grass in their dachas, in forests, on agricultural lands, near railroad tracks.
People who burn dry grass, do not think about the consequences of their actions. Moreover, many believe that doing this is "useful". Of course, it is more convenient and cheaper for a person to simply burn dry vegetation in his dacha, instead of using machinery. But it must be understood that with a strong wind, the fire immediately leaves into the forest. Unfortunately, sometimes the media mislead and biased to talk about how, and why, populated areas, dachas are covered by fire. However, most often fires begin exactly as described.
- What other common, but incorrect judgments about forest fires did you notice?
- It is common, for example, to say that the strongest natural fires were in Russia in 2010, when due to the anomalous heat and the absence of rain, peat and then forest fires began in the Moscow region. Then the smoke and smoke were in Moscow and other cities. But in fact, this is not the only and not the worst situation. A complex forest fire situation develops in the regions of Siberia and the Far East every year.
There is also such a misconception: forest fires, some believe, are best extinguished from the air, by special aircraft and helicopters. And if the aircraft are not involved, people start to resent - they say, not everything is done to fight the fire. But in fact, aviation is used to reduce the intensity of forest fire, this is only one of many measures. And the main force in the fight against fire is the manual labor of forest firefighters, who process each edge of the edge. This can be compared with jewelry work. There is also such a myth: in the frost forest fires do not happen. This is not true. As already mentioned, in Primorye, the first forest fire this year arose 7 January.
- What problems would you call the main ones in the work of forest fire services?
- This is the lack of departmental aviation. After the administrative reform of the 2006 year from the federal to the regional level, 106 aircraft were transferred. Now the fleet of departmental forest aviation is extremely small, since it is expensive to serve the regions of Siberia and the Far East.
At the beginning of 2018, forest aviation in the Krasnoyarsk and Altai Territories, Vladimir, Amur, Tyumen and Tomsk regions, the Altai and Karelia republics comprised only 34 departmental vessels, which were mainly based at leased airports. I want to say that the revival of departmental aviation should become a priority task, since it is from the air that you can quickly record fires and react quickly in these situations. And this requires adequate funding.
The same and with other special equipment. The ground monitoring zone in the country is 72 million hectares. It is possible to imagine how many special vehicles - firefighters, forest patrolmen, earth-diggers - are needed to quickly combat fire in such a territory. However, the checks carried out by the specialists of the FBU Avialesoohrana and other agencies showed that most of the fire fighting equipment and equipment are worn out. That is, the necessary amount of technology (and hence people) to extinguish fires is simply impossible to attract (According to the Accounts Chamber of the Russian Federation, the percentage of forest fire equipment with wear up to 100% is 35% of the total park in the Irkutsk and Sverdlovsk Regions, 40,9% in the Altai Republic, 46% in the Transbaikalian Territory, and 55% in the Krasnoyarsk Territory. Updating the technopark regions are considered only under the condition of co-financing from the federal budget. – EastRussia).
There are also problems with the timely localization and elimination of forest fires in the Far Eastern Federal District. The reason is a weak organization of extinguishing, multiplying air patrolling and ensuring the build-up of forces and assets in the Amur Region and the Primorsky Territory.
For reference. Forecasts of an increased risk of fires in forests in April-May 2018 in the regions of Siberia and the Far East
In April. In the SFD - the southern and central parts of the Omsk region, the western part of the Novosibirsk region, the southern part of the Altai Territory, the Republic of Altai and the Republic of Tuva, the southeastern part of the Irkutsk region, the southern and eastern parts of the Republic of Buryatia, the western, central and eastern parts of the Trans-Baikal Territory. In the Far Eastern Federal District - the entire territory of the Primorsky Territory and the Jewish Autonomous Region, the southern part of the Khabarovsk Territory.
In May. In the SFD: the southern part of the Omsk Region, the western, southern, eastern and central parts of the Novosibirsk Region, the northern part of the Altai Territory, the northern part of the Kemerovo Region, the southern part of the Tomsk Region, the Republic of Tyva and the Altai Republic, the northern part of the Irkutsk Region, the southeastern part of Krasnoyarsk the eastern part of the Republic of Buryatia, the central part of the Trans-Baikal Territory. In the Far Eastern Federal District: the entire territory of the Jewish Autonomous Region, the southern part of Primorsky Krai.