GFMC: Forest Fires in the Russian Federation, 16 June 2000

Forest Fires in the Russian Federation

16 June 2000


Presidential Decree on Restructuring the responsibilities of the Federal Forest Service of Russia including the Forest Fire Protection Service
In a move to restructure the federal government’s executive branch, President Vladimir Putin has eliminated the State Committees for Forestry and for Environmental Protection along with several others. The environmental and forestry functions were transferred to the Ministry on Natural Resources. The decree was signed on Friday 19 May 2000 and made public over the weekend. It triggered immediate public response. As more details will be available on the restructuring of the Federal Forest Service and the Aerial Forest Fire Protection Service Avialesookhrana the GFMC will continue to provide update information on new developments. Avialesookhrana is responsible for aerial forest fire protection on the largest contiguous forest of the world.

On 10 June 2000 the Minister for Natural Resources, Mr. Boris Alexandrovich Yatzkevich was interviewed by the forestry journal Lesnaya Gazeta. Concerning the future of Avialesookhrana the minister said that the Aerial Forest Fire Protection Service will be carefully reviewed and possibly be restructured if necessary.

Meanwhile it seems that the government has agreed to grant a special autonomous status to the new Forest Service under the direct auspices of the Minister for Natural Resources. The Federal Council of Russia in which all regional governors have a voice during last week had rejected the decree of the President to abolish the State Forest Committee. Exact wording of this decision is currently not available to the GFMC.

On Friday 2 June 2000 the GFMC had sent a letter to the Federal ForestService of Russia in which the possible consequences of climate change and the weakening of the fire management capabilities are highlighted. The text of the letter is given in a separate file: The Future of Forest Fire Protection in Russia. Two press releases (6 June 2000 and 7 June 2000) by the participants of the Baltic Exercise for Fire information  and Resources Exchange 2000 (BALTEX FIRE 2000)  also addressed the problem of the possible impacts of weakening of Russian federal fire management capabilities.

The Aerial Forest Fire Protection Service Avialesookhrana of the Federal Forest Service of Russia reports the state of fire in the 2000 fire season to the GFMC. The latest report is from 2 June 2000:
Up to 1 June 2000 a total of 8,014 fires occurred in the forests under the control of the Federal Forest Service of Russia and burning a total of 330,308 ha of forest and 135,004 ha non forest areas (inside forest lands).
During the day of 1 June 2000 a total of 150 fires were burning and affected 1,525 ha forest and non forest land.
The regions with the highest fire activity were: Chita and Irkutsk There were 9 big fires (the largest 750 ha).

Selected fire occurrence maps 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 Krai used in the maps are designations of administrative regions. Today, 16 June 2000, only a satelite image is available:

ru_fire_legend.gif (937 Byte)

click to enlarge (29 KB)

Fig.1. Map legend

Fig.2. Coverage map showing
regional boundaries

click here to enlarge (177 KB)

Fig.3. Satelite image showing forest fires in Amur und Chita Oblast

For more details on fire in the Russian Federation, Mongolia and China: 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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