Russian, Kazakh leaders say to fight forest fires together
* Russian region imposes state of emergency as fire advances
(Adds presidential talks, state of emergency in Altai)
ALMATY, Sept 9 (Reuters) – Forest fires have killed five people in northern Kazakhstan, the country’s Emergencies Ministry said on Thursday, as neighbouring Russia sent aircraft to fight blazes advancing onto its territory.
More than 500 firefighters were trying to contain the fires, which broke out at about noon (0600 GMT) on Wednesday and have already spread into some parts of Russia, the ministry said on its website, www.emer.kz.
Russia’s Emergencies Ministry said Kazakh authorities had allowed it to send special aircraft to the neighbouring Central Asian nation to help local firefighters.
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev held a telephone conversation with his Kazakh counterpart, Nursultan Nazarbayev, on Thursday “to discuss practical steps to fight fires in the two nations’ border regions,” the Kremlin said.
Three “fire fronts” were advancing towards Russia’s Novosibirsk and Altai regions, the Russian Emergencies Ministry said in a statement posted on its website, www.mchs.gov.ru.
Altai Governor Alexander Karlin imposed a state of emergency in his region in a bid to contain the spread of fire from Kazakhstan, which has gutted a local village, left around 1,000 people homeless and is threatening other districts, said the region’s website, www.altairegion22.ru.
It said that, due to winds reaching up to 100 km (63 miles) per hour, a wave of the so-called “crown fire”, which spreads along treetops had reached Russia from Kazakhstan across a protection furrow ploughed between the two nations.
More than 260 villagers had been evacuated in northern Kazakhstan, the Kazakh Emergencies Ministry said.
In Russia, severe fires caused by an unprecedented heatwave have killed more than 60 people since July. (Reporting by Dmitry Solovyov, Editing by Sonya Hepinstall) Source: ReliefWeb
A man stands next to the burnt remains of his truck after a forest fire in the village of Nikolayevka in Russia’s Altai region September 9, 2010.
Altai Governor Alexander Karlin imposed a state of emergency in his region in a bid to contain the spread of fire from Kazakhstan, which has gutted a local village, left around 1,000 people homeless and is threatening other districts, said the region’s website.Source: Planetark
Moscow mayor vows to stay after Medvedev attack
Moscow’s powerful mayor said on Friday he plans to stay in office after Russian President Dmitry Medvedev gave him a dressing-down in a row that will test Medvedev’s powers.
Medvedev is still seen as a junior partner to his mentor, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin. Putin and Medvedev have strongly hinted one of them, but not both, will run for president in 2012.
The 73-year-old Yuri Luzhkov, who has ruled the Russian capital since 1992, wrote in an article this week that the mood in Russian society was “difficult” and he criticized Medvedev’s decision to suspend a controversial highway project.
“I do not agree with this point of view, we do not have a difficult atmosphere in society,” Medvedev told political analysts at a forum in the city of Yaroslavl on Friday.
“Officials should either participate in building institutions or join the opposition.”
Following Luzhkov’s article, an anonymous Kremlin source told Russian news agencies that unnamed Moscow officials — clearly a reference to Luzhkov — were trying to drive a wedge between Medvedev and Putin, and called it unacceptable.
That prompted a wave of speculation that Luzhkov, now Russia’s longest serving regional leader, would be ousted before his current term expires in June.
Asked by reporters on Friday whether he would serve out his term, Luzhkov said he “had no reason to think otherwise” and dismissed suggestions of a confrontation with the Kremlin.
“There is no conflict, there are different opinions,” Luzhkov said.
He was in Yaroslavl for the forum but said he had no plans to meet with Medvedev.
For Medvedev, sacking the heavyweight mayor would be the boldest move of a presidency that both critics and fans say has brought more talk than action.
Commentators said the political future of Medvedev, who says a new generation of leaders is needed to modernize Russia and diversify its resource-reliant economy, could hinge on the outcome of the row.
“Medvedev will become the nation’s laughingstock if he does not throw Luzhkov out after such impudent behavior,” said opposition politician Boris Nemtsov, a long-time critic of Luzhkov and Putin.
Putin has remained mostly above the fray. But when the Kremlin last month criticized Luzhkov for staying away from Moscow as toxic peat-fire smoke choked the capital, Putin met the mayor and praised him for a timely return.
A documentary program alleging corruption by Luzhkov and his wife, businesswoman Yelena Batourina, was shown on Russia’s state-linked NTV channel on Friday.
Titled “The Cap Affair”, after Luzhkov’s habit of wearing a black flat cap, the program also scolded the mayor for staying out of Moscow in the worst days of the heatwave in July, when acrid smoke from peat fires blanketed Moscow.
The Kremlin used the same tactic to berate Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko earlier in summer, when a documentary accusing him of corruption and political murder was broadcast. Source: www.reuters.com
GFMC analysis: According to the latest satellite-derived analysis provided by the Sukachev Institute for Forest and Emercom (using the NOAA AVHRR satellite data) and the Institute of Space Research of the Russian Academy of Sciences (using the MODIS satellite data) the total area burned by 18 August 2010 in the Russian Federation is:
NOAA AVHRR: 5.9 million ha
MODIS: 5.8 million ha
Note: The area burned includes all vegetation types (forest and non-forested land on the whole territory of the Russian Federation, including territories in which fires are monitored only but not controlled). This explains the discrepancy of fire statistics published by various government sources, which exclusively refer to forests under fire protection (see FAO Regional Fire Report Central Asia Region).
Note: Both, data and fire situation reports of Avialesookhrana from the National Forest Fire Centre of Russia as well as from Fire Laboratory of the Sukachev Institute of Forest, Krasnoyarsk are temporarily not available due to correction of satellite algorithms.
Fire danger map for 9 September:
Source: Sukachev Institute for Forest, Krasnoyarsk
Avialesookhrana from the National Forest Fire Centre of Russia provides up-to-date NOAA images for the whole of the Russian Federation and neighbour territories. The Space Monitoring Information Support Laboratory provides extensive links to sites with satellite imagery for the Russian Federation, meteorological information as well as fire related images are accessible.
The NOAA AVHRR satellite image composite shows fire activities in the Russian Federation.
Latest (10 September 2010 09:00 GMT) NOAA 12&14 AVHRR composite
The red squares indicate regions of active fires (MODIS Detection). For details the GFMC readers are encouraged to use the hyperlinks provided by Avialesookhrana, the Aerial Forest Fire Protection Service of the Federal Forest service of Russia.
(Source: Avialesookhrana cloudiness maps)
Eurasian Experimental Fire Weather Information System The system has been developed by forest fire researchers from Canada, Russia and Germany is displayed on this website starting 18 July 2001. Complete information and a set of daily fire weather and fire behaviour potential maps covering Eurasia (the Baltic Region, Eastern Europe, countries of the Commonwealth of Independent States, Mongolia) can be accessed at: https://gfmc.online/fwf/eurasia.html
Example of the Eurasian Experimental Fire Weather Information System:
Latest map of the Experimental Fire Weather Index (FWI) for Russia and neighbouring countries
Daily Fire Occurrence and Fire Danger Maps of the Fire Laboratory of the Sukachev Institute of Forest, Krasnoyarsk
Selected fire occurrence maps, satellite images and a forest fire danger map are prepared daily by the Russian GFMC correspondent Dr. Anatoly Sukhinin, Fire Laboratory of the Sukachev Institute of Forest, Krasnoyarsk, in collaboration with the Emergency Situation Monitoring and Forecasting Agency, Krasnoyarsk branch. The maps are produced on the base of satellite data (classification by the NOAA AVHRR). They show the fire locations (by latitude and longitude) and the area affected by fire (red signature, size in ha). The red arrow at each fire location points to the nearest populated place. The terms Oblast or Kray used in the maps are designations of administrative regions. A map showing the boundaries of administrative regions and a legend is included below.
Latest maps maps showing fire activities of 10 September 2010 (selection):
Overview map showing large fire locations detected over the last 10 days:
Latest maps maps showing fire activities of 10 September 2010 (selection):
Bibliography on fire in ecosystems of boreal Eurasia:
One of the results of the first international fire science conference in the Russian Federation (1993) was the publication of a monograph on fire in boreal Eurasia, including some selected contributions on boreal North America. The literature cited in the monograph contains numerous publications which in many cases are not easily accessible. To facilitate literature search the bibliographical sources are provided by topic (chapter). Goldammer, J.G. and V.V.Furyaev. 1996. Fire in Ecosystems of Boreal Eurasia. Kluwer Academic Publishers, Dordrecht, 390 p.