Forest Fires in the Russian Federation: 5 August 1999

Forest Fires in the Russian Federation

5 August 1999

The NOAA AVHRR satellite image composite of 5 August 1999 shows fire activities in eastern Russia.

click here to enlarge (346 KB)

Fig.1. This NOAA AVHRR composite of 5 August 1999 was generated at 01:20 GMT and used for this composite the satellite NOAA 12 and 14. The red squares indicate regions of active fires.
(Source:  The satellite maps containing fire information can be accessed under “Cloudiness Maps” at

For details (enlargements, other scenes produced earlier or later) the GFMC readers are encouraged to click on the hyperlinks provided by the Avialesookhrana website. The Avialesookhrana homepage from the National Forest Fire Centre of Russia provides up-to-date NOAA images for the whole of the Russian Federation at . The web site of 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 Aerial Forest Fire Protection Service Avialesookhrana of the Federal Forest Service of Russia reports the state of fire in the 1999 fire season to the GFMC. The latest report is from 5 August 1999:
Up to 5 August 1999 a total 23,835 fires occurred in forest under the control of the Federal Forest Service of Russia burning a total of 445,444 ha of forest and 166,388 ha non forest areas (inside forest lands).
During the day of 4 August a total of 773 fires were burning and affected 7,565 ha forest and 2,419 ha non forest land.

The regions with the highest fire activity on 4 August were:
Vologda region – 107 fires – 3,568 ha (forest and non forest)
Arkhangelsk region – 47 fires – 125 ha
Karelia region  – 102 fires – 641 ha
Krasnoyarsk region – 25 fires – 141 ha
Irkutsk region – 39 fires – 1,439 ha
Leningrad region – 105 fires – 96 ha
Novgorod region – 131 fires – 238 ha
Tomsk region – 68 fires – 2,231 ha
Some large fires (about 15,000 ha) burning in Vologda, Karelia, Leningrad, Novgorod, Tomsk regions, totalling 38 and 1 fire in Khabarovsk region burning 12,100 ha.

The National Forest Fire Center of Russia AVIALESOOKHRANA realizes forest and deer pasture fire control on a territory of more than 800 million ha. The structure of Avialesookhrana includes 21 Regional Forest Fire Centers (aviation bases), two independent subdivisions, uniform clothes factory and the Vladimir state aviation company. Avialesookhrana rents annually from the Civil aviation companies 600 aircraft and has its own aviation park consisting of 60 aircraft including fixedwing planes and helicopters, 20 from them are airtankers and airscoopers. The staff of Avialesookhrana consists of highly skilled specialists: 520 pilot-observes, 4500 smokejumpers and helirappellers as well as more than 2,300 other specialists.

The average number of fires occurs annually are 15,000-30,000. With the help of aviation are detected about 85% and put out more than 60% of total fires in Russian forests.

The Environment News Service (ENS) published on 4 August 1999 following report with the title:
Russian Forest Fires Raging Out of Control
Ninety-one large fires are blazing in the Russian Federation right now, and incidence of fires is way up compared with last year. The most dangerous situation remains in the Central, North-Western Siberian and Far-Eastern regions of the Russian Federation.
The Ministry of the Russian Federation for Civil Defence, Emergencies and Elimination of Consequences of Natural Disasters (EMERCOM of Russia) says that 839 fire spots have been registered compared with 157 at this time in 1998.
As of July 26,157 new fire sources were detected compared with 37 fires during the same period last year.
The area damaged by fires so far this year is 586,153 hectares (2,262 square miles).
The total area affected during the whole fire period in 1998 was 801,018 hectares (3,091 square miles).
EMERCOM of Russia, together with the Federal Forest Service, Ministry of Defence and Ministry of Interior, are fighting forest fires on a daily basis. The Russian authorities have managed to localize fires, and avoid their spreading to human settlements. Air support is being provided, with 95 aircraft from the Federal Forest Service fighting against forest fires and conducting air reconnaissance. EMERCOM of Russia is using Ilyushin-76 water bombing airplanes.
Russian weather specialists are forecasting an increasing number of forest fires in the near future. EMERCOM indicates that it is necessary to urgently increase means and facilities of relevant national bodies, to cope with this emergency.
Many fire fighting units are not sufficiently equipped, they lack the basic mechanisms and devices, such as fire engines, knapsack fire-extinguishers, bog tractors and telecommunication equipment.
The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, through its Joint Environment Unit and Europe/NIS Desk, is closely cooperating with EMERCOM of Russia in dealing with this disaster and in preventing further deterioration of the situation.

For more details on fire in the Russian Federation: See IFFN Country Notes.

Scientific details on fire in the Russian Federation are provided by the Fire Research Campaign Asia-North (FIRESCAN) report.

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.

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