GFMC: Forest Fires in the Russian Federation

Forest Fires  in the Russian Federation  

31 July 2010

Smoke plumes from fires burning in Nijni Novgorod Region
are are now drifting away from Moscow region.
Source: MODIS Terra scene (aquired on 31 July 2010, 250m

Germany offers Russia emergency aid

Germany has offered the Russian authorities help in tackling the devastating forest fires raging across the country. At the request of Federal Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle, the German Embassy in Moscow today (31 July) contacted the Russian Foreign Ministry with an offer to examine whether Germany could provide emergency aid – medical help, emergency accommodation and drinking-water purification – should this be required.

Federal Minister Westerwelle spoke of a “gesture of solidarity” with those affected by the disaster. To the families and friends of those who had died he offered the German nation’s deep sympathy.

With fires raging in over 400 locations across Russia, 18 peat bogs burning and 61 major forest fires, the total area affected now covers some 120 thousand hectares. According to Russian reports, the death toll has now reached 35 and many more have been injured. The worst affected areas are the Volga region and especially the region around Moscow. Russian sources put the number of houses destroyed to date in the Ryazan area at 233.

Russian wildfires leave 28 dead, thousands homeless

At least 28 people have been killed and thousands left homeless by wildfires sweeping through western Russia, authorities said Saturday.

The Russian government said it has sent some 240,000 people to fight the blazes, which are among the worst ever to hit the region, the Interfax news agency reported. Two firefighters were among the dead, the Itar-Tass news agency reported, citing the Emergency Ministry.

The fires have destroyed 1,257 homes across 14 regions, the Russian Ministry of Emergency Situations said. It said 2,825 people have been left homeless.

A hot, dry summer has been a key factor in the fires, drying out large parts of land and igniting the peat bogs that lie all over central Russia.

The government has sent 226 aircraft to fight the fires, Sergei Shaposhnikov, the head of the civil defense department at the Emergency Situations Ministry, told Interfax.

Latest figures from the ministry showed some 121,500 hectares (300,105 acres) of forest were burning Saturday. There were also 18 peat bog fires.

More than 3,000 people evacuated from fire-stricken areas are being housed at 12 temporary settlements, Interfax reported.

Shaposhnikov told Interfax the weather forecast made him pessimistic about the possibility the situation might improve in the near future.

“Dry weather will last for at least several more days in both the Central Federal District and the Volga Federal District, with temperature reaching 33 Celsius (91.4 Fahrenheit), and it could reach even 40 Celsius (104 Fahrenheit) in the Nizhny Novgorod region,” he said.

The fires are the worst ever to hit the European part of Russia, the region west of the Ural Mountains, the RIA-Novosti news agency said.

President Dmitry Medvedev ordered the Defense Ministry on Friday to use the military to help tackle the fires, the president’s spokeswoman, Natalya Timakova, told the Interfax news agency.

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and Emergency Situations Minister Sergei Shoigu flew Friday to Nizhny Novgorod, where Putin called on local officials to step down because they had been accused of a “chaotic and uncoordinated” response.

Then on Saturday, the head of a local government in a central Russian district where 12 people died in wildfires resigned, according to RIA-Novosti. Alexei Sokolov’s resignation has yet to be accepted.

Putin also said the families of those who died in wildfires would each receive 1 million rubles ($33,000) in compensation. He also said the government would allocate around 3 million rubles ($100,000) to rebuild the destroyed homes.

Temperatures across much of western and central Russia have topped 95 Fahrenheit (35 Celsius) during the past five weeks, RIA-Novosti said.

Moscow hit a temperature of 39 Celsius (102 Fahrenheit) on Thursday, the highest temperature since records began in 1879.


The list of commissions on liquidation of consequences of fires and rendering assistance to the victims (Source:

Presidential Order of 30 July 2010

To Vladimir V. Putin:

Operate together with enforcement authorities of regions of the Russian Federation exhaustive measures on liquidation of fires, rendering assistance to the victims, strengthening of fire-prevention safety and preventive maintenance of ignitions. Organize acquisitions to the Siberian and Far East Air rescue centers of the Ministry of Emergency Situations of Russia the amphibians “BE-200”.

G.S.Poltavchenko, I.I.Klebanovu, V.V.Ustinovu, G.A.Rapote, N.A.Vinnichenko, A.V.Kvashninu, V.I.Ishaevu, A.G.Hloponinu

Take actions on rendering assistance to the victims

J.J.Chajke, S.V.Stepashinu, K.A.Chujchenko

Check up efficiency of an expenditure of means of the federal budget allocated for fire-fighting and rendering assistance to the victims.

President of the Russia Federation
D. Medvedev

Перечень поручений по ликвидации последствий пожаров и оказанию помощи пострадавшим

30 июля 2010


Примите совместно с органами исполнительной власти субъектов Российской Федерации исчерпывающие меры по ликвидации пожаров, оказанию помощи пострадавшим, усилению противопожарной безопасности и профилактике возгораний. Организуйте дооснащение Сибирского и Дальневосточного авиационно-спасательных центров МЧС России самолётами-амфибиями “Бе-200ЧС”.

Г.С.Полтавченко, И.И.Клебанову, В.В.Устинову, Г.А.Рапоте, Н.А.Винниченко, А.В.Квашнину, В.И.Ишаеву, А.Г.Хлопонину

Примите меры по оказанию помощи пострадавшим.

Ю.Я.Чайке, С.В.Степашину, К.А.Чуйченко

Проверьте эффективность расходования средств федерального бюджета, выделяемых на борьбу с пожарами и оказанию помощи пострадавшим”.


Order of Government of Russia about assignment for financial aid to regions rendering suffered from forest fires (Source:

Order No. 1286-r of 30 July 2010

1. To allocate to Government of the Republic of Mordovia , to Government of the Republic of Tatarstan ,to the Governments of the Belgorod, Voronezh, Ivanovo, Kirov, Moscow, Nizhniy Novgorod, Ryazan, Ulyanovsk regions, and also Administrations of the Vladimir, Lipetsk, Tambov and Tula regions from the Federal Budget of the Grant for support of measures on maintenance of equation of budgets of regions of the Russian Federation at a rate of 5 billion roubles for rendering of financial aid to the citizens who have lost premises as a result of forest fires, occurred in 2010 in territories of the specified regions of the Russian Federation (further – forest fires), with distribution according to the appendix.

The specified grants to use for restoration and building of habitation with a view of granting to its citizens who have lost a premises, rendering of financial aid to citizens in connection with loss of property by them from calculation to 100 thousand roubles to each citizen, on infrastructure restoration, and also for payments of a lump sum to members of families of the citizens, lost (died) as a result of forest fires, at the rate of 1 million roubles on each victim (died).
To recommend to enforcement authorities of subjects of the Russian Federation to carry out additional payments in connection with property loss at the rate of 100 thousand roubles to each citizen.

2. To the enforcement authorities specified in point 1 of the present order to present to Ministry of Regional Development of Russia:

–         Lists of the citizens who have lost houses as a result of forest fires that approved by the Ministry of Emergency Situations and the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Russia;

–         In 3-day term – plans on liquidation of consequences of forest fires.

3. To the Ministry of Finance of Russia according to the appendix to the present order to list the grants specified in point 1 of the present order, to budgets of corresponding regions of the Russian Federation.

4. The control over execution of the present order I reserve.

The chairman of the Government of the Russian Federation

V. Putin



Appendix to the order of the Government of the Russian Federation 1286-r of 30 July 2010

Distribution of grants to budgets of regions of the Russian Federation on support of measures on maintenance of equation of budgets of subjects of the Russian Federation for rendering of financial aid to the citizens who have lost premises as a result of forest fires, occurred in 2010.

The subjects of the Russian Federation – will receive the following amount of grant (million roubles):

Republic Mordovia – 237
Republic Tatarstan – 20
Belgorod region – 28
Vladimir region – 131
Voronezh region – 1073
Ivanovo region – 32
Kirov region – 24
Lipetsk region – 158
Moscow Region – 174
Nizhniy Novgorod region – 2533
Ryazan region – 499
Tambov region – 59
Tula region – 24
Ulyanovsk region – 8
Total Grant: 5 Billion Rubles


Распоряжениеот 30 июля 2010 г.  1286-р

1. ВыделитьПравительствуРеспубликиМордовия,ПравительствуРеспубликиТатарстан,правительствамБелгородской, Воронежской,Ивановской, Кировской,Московской, Нижегородской, Рязанской,Ульяновскойобластей,атакжеадминистрациямВладимирской, Липецкой,ТамбовскойиТульскойобластейизфедеральногобюджетадотациинаподдержкумерпообеспечениюсбалансированностибюджетовсубъектовРоссийскойФедерациивразмере 5 млрд. рублейдляоказанияматериальнойпомощигражданам,лишившимсяжилогопомещенияврезультателесныхпожаров,произошедшихв 2010 годунатерриторияхуказанныхсубъектовРоссийскойФедерации (далее – лесныепожары),сраспределениемсогласноприложению.

Указанныедотациииспользоватьдлявосстановленияистроительстважильявцеляхпредоставленияегогражданам,лишившимсяжилогопомещения,оказанияматериальнойпомощигражданамвсвязисутратойимиимуществаизрасчетадо 100 тыс. рублейкаждомугражданину,навосстановлениеинфраструктуры, атакжедлявыплатединовременногопособиячленамсемейграждан,погибших (умерших)врезультателесныхпожаров,израсчета 1 млн. рублейнакаждогопогибшего (умершего).

РекомендоватьорганамисполнительнойвластисубъектовРоссийскойФедерацииосуществитьдополнительныевыплатывсвязисутратойимуществаизрасчета 100 тыс. рублейкаждомугражданину.

2. Органамисполнительнойвласти,указаннымвпункте 1 настоящегораспоряжения, представитьвМинрегионРоссии:

–         согласованныесМЧСРоссиииМВДРоссииспискиграждан,лишившихсяжилогопомещенияврезультателесныхпожаров;

–         в 3-дневныйсрок – планыполиквидациипоследствийлесныхпожаров.

3. МинфинуРоссиивсоответствиисприложениемкнастоящемураспоряжениюперечислитьдотации,указанныевпункте 1 настоящегораспоряжения, бюджетамсоответствующихсубъектовРоссийскойФедерации.

4. Контрользаисполнениемнастоящегораспоряженияоставляюзасобой.




ПриложениекраспоряжениюПравительстваРоссийскойФедерацииот 30 июля 2010 г.  1286-р

РаспределениедотацийбюджетамсубъектовРоссийскойФедерациинаподдержкумерпообеспечениюсбалансированностибюджетовсубъектовРоссийскойФедерациидляоказанияматериальнойпомощигражданам,лишившимсяжилогопомещенияврезультателесныхпожаров,произошедшихв 2010 году

СубъектРоссийскойФедерации – Размердотации (млн.рублей)

РеспубликаМордовия – 237

РеспубликаТатарстан – 20

Белгородскаяобласть – 28

Владимирскаяобласть – 131

Воронежскаяобласть – 1073

Ивановскаяобласть – 32

Кировскаяобласть – 24

Липецкаяобласть – 158

Московскаяобласть – 174

Нижегородскаяобласть – 2533

Рязанскаяобласть – 499

Тамбовскаяобласть – 59

Тульскаяобласть – 24

Ульяновскаяобласть – 8



Forest Forum Greenpeace of Russia (31 July 2010): During last two days 25 people died from forest fires in Russia (Source:

According to the operative data of the Ministry of Emergency Situations – EMERCOM of the Russian Federation, for last two days as a result of forest fires in Russia 25 persons died, including two firemen. In 14 regions of the Russian Federation for this period forest fires destroyed 1257  houses, without a roof over the head there are 2885 persons. 3396 persons are evacuated.

How much this data is exact, while it is not known. From the very beginning of a fire season of 2010 many territorial bodies of EMERCOM repeatedly underestimated the data about a fire area, unreasonably informed on absence of acting fires etc. Taking into account it, it is represented to the most probable, as the data about quantity of the lost people and the burnt down houses also can be strongly underestimated.


ЛеснойфорумГринписРоссии, 31 июля 2010

ЗапоследниедвоесутокврезультателесныхпожароввРоссиипогибли 25 человек.

СогласнооперативнымданнымМЧСРФ,запоследниедвоесутокврезультателесныхпожароввРоссиипогибли 25 человек, втомчиследвоепожарных.В 14 субъектахРоссийскойФедерациизаэтотпериодлеснымипожарамиуничтожены 1257 жилыхдомов,безкроваостались 2885 человек.Эвакуированы 3396 человек.

Насколькоэтиданныеточны,поканеизвестно.Ссамогоначалапожарногосезона 2010 годамногиетерриториальныеорганыМЧСмногократнозанижалиданныеоплощадипожаров,необоснованносообщалиоботсутствиидействовавшихпожаровит.д.Сучетомэтого,представляетсянаиболеевероятным,чтоиданныеоколичествепогибшихлюдейисгоревшихдомовтакжемогутбытьсильнозаниженными.


Forest Forum Greenpeace of Russia: Minimum 21 people died from Forset Fires during last two days in European part of Russia (30 July 2010) (Source:

At least 21 persons died as a result of forest fires for last two days in the Nizhniy Novgorod, Moscow and Voronezh regions. For the same time in Central and Privolzhsky Federal Districts has burnt down 1170 houses. Radio station “Echo Moscow” informs on it referring to Management of the information of the Ministry of Emergency Situations of Russia. Most likely, this information is far not full.

The Federal Forest Agency informed in its report for 30 July 2010 that victims and suffered from forest fires in Russia are not present.

Such quantity of forest fires as now, in the European Russia were not since 1972. Such damage to settlements and such quantity of victims among civilians was not from the end of 30th years of the XX-th century. Thus the situation continues to worsen quickly, fire captures almost all European Russia and Ural Mountains, new seats of fire arise much faster, than workers of a forestry and firemen have time to extinguish or localise the old ones. Rains which would help firemen to cope with fire, within the next few days on most parts of territory of the European Russia it is not expected.

Heads of the country and enforcement authorities responsible for wood or in general hold back the reasons of occurrence of an emergency situation with forest fires, or explain it with exclusively extreme drought. In the last there is an element of truth, but the main reason of fire accident is other.

The main reason of catastrophic development of forest and peat fires in the European Russia consists that reforms of last decade (from liquidation of Federal Agency of a Forestry and GoskomEcology in 2000 before introduction of the new Forest Code in 2006-2010) have practically destroyed the whole branch of a National economy – a Forestry, liquidated the state forest protection and have made our woods almost ownerless and homeless. In homeless forest almost any thrown stub or the left fire in dry weather leads to a heavy fire.

The additional problem consists that mad reforms of a forestry have led to leaving from a forestry of the most qualified experts, possessing invaluable experience of the organisation of suppression of forest fires – forest wardens, masters of wood, pilots-observers (aerial fire managers) and others. As a result now often simply there is nobody to supervise over suppression of large forest fires, to organise work of the involved people without experience – employees of the Ministry of Emergency Situations, military, volunteers.

Disorder of a forestry owing to “reforms” spent to 2000-2010 was the main reason of a catastrophic state of affairs with forest fires in regions of the European Russia suffering from a drought. If necessary measures on restoration of the state wood protection and normalisation of the wood legislation in the near future are not taken, the situation which we now observe in the European Russia, will inevitably repeat the next years.

We plan to make the review of results of a fire season of 2010 in the autumn, with analysis of the reasons and guilty, certainly. But hardly it will turn out to consider a situation to level of actions of concrete officials and structures in concrete regions.

In general, we think that now all (is almost universal) will start to hide and conceal in every way the information on the one who that did and why the situation with forest fires has got out of hand. And it will occur from silent approval of the higher persons of the state (what signatures stand under the Forest Code and amendments to it, i.e. Putin and Medvedev) as if to understand a situation objectively and unbiassedly, will inevitably be found out that the main originators – authors of the new Forest legislation and reforms of a forestry of last decade. It is clear that all involved in Forest “reforms” of last decade will be to such objective and unbiassed trial by all possible ways to interfere.

So forces any state or nearstate structures it is not necessary to count on the serious analysis of a situation. It is necessary somehow to try to make such analysis by own strength.


ЛеснойфорумгринписРоссии, 30 июля 2010

Какминимум 21 человекпогибврезультателесныхпожароввЕвропейскойРоссиизапоследниедвоесуток

Какминимум 21 человекпогибврезультателесныхпожаровзапоследниедвоесутоквНижегородской, МосковскойиВоронежскойобластях.ЗаэтожевремявЦентральномиПриволжскомфедеральномокругахсгорело 1170 домов.Обэтомсообщаетрадиостанция “ЭхоМосквы”соссылкойнаУправлениеинформацииМЧСРоссии.Повсейвидимости,этаинформацияявляетсядалеконеполной.

Федеральноеагентстволесногохозяйствавсвоей “Сводкеолесопожарнойобстановкена 30 июля 2010 года”указывает, чтопогибшихипострадавшихотлесныхпожароввРоссиинет.

Такогоколичествалесныхпожаров,каксейчас,вЕвропейскойРоссиинебылос 1972 года.Такогоущербанаселеннымпунктамитакогоколичестважертвсредигражданскогонаселениянебылосконца 30-хгодовХХвека.Приэтомситуацияпродолжаетбыстроухудшаться,огнемохваченапрактическивсяЕвропейскаяРоссияиУрал,новыеочагипожароввозникаютзначительнобыстрее,чемработникилесногохозяйстваипожарныеуспеваюттушитьилилокализовыватьстарые.Дождей, которыепомоглибыпожарнымсправитьсясогнем,вближайшиеднинабольшейчаститерриторииЕвропейскойРоссиинепредвидится.


ГлавнаяпричинакатастрофическогоразвитиялесныхиторфяныхпожароввЕвропейскойРоссиисостоитвтом,чтореформыпоследнегодесятилетия (отликвидацииФедеральнойслужбылесногохозяйстваиГоскомэкологиив 2000 годудовведенияновоголесногозаконодательствав 2006-2010 г.г.)практическиуничтожилицелуюотрасльнародногохозяйства – лесноехозяйство,ликвидировалигосударственнуюлеснуюохрануисделалинашилесапрактическибесхознымиибеспризорными. Вбеспризорномлесупрактическилюбойброшенныйокурокилиоставленныйкостервсухуюпогодуприводиткбольшомупожару.

Дополнительнаяпроблемасостоитвтом,чтобезумныереформылесногохозяйствапривеликуходуизпрофессиимножествасамыхквалифицированныхспециалистов, обладавшимбесценнымопытоморганизациитушениялесныхпожаров – лесничих, мастеровлеса,летчиков-наблюдателейидругих.Витогесейчасчастопростонекомуруководитьтушениемкрупныхлесныхпожаров,организовыватьработупривлеченныхлюдейбезопыта – сотрудниковМЧС,военных, добровольцев.

Именноразваллесногохозяйствавследствиепроведенныхв 2000-2010 г.г. “реформ”явилсяглавнойпричинойкатастрофическогоположенияделслеснымипожарамивстрадающихотзасухирегионахЕвропейскойРоссии.Есливближайшеевремянебудутпредпринятынеобходимыемерыповосстановлениюгосударственнойлеснойохраныинормализациилесногозаконодательства, ситуация,которуюмысейчаснаблюдаемвЕвропейскойРоссии,неизбежноповторитсявпоследующиегоды.

Обзоритоговпожарногосезона 2010 годамыпланируемсделатьосенью,сразборомпричинивиновных,разумеется. Новрядлиполучитсярассмотретьситуациюдоуровнядействийконкретныхчиновниковиструктурвконкретныхрегионах.

Вообще,ядумаю,чтосейчасвсе (почтипоголовно)начнутвсемисиламипрятатьиутаиватьинформациюотом,кточтоделалипочемуситуацияслеснымипожарамивышлаиз-подконтроля.Причемэтобудетпроисходитьсмолчаливогоодобрениявысшихлицгосударства (тех,чьиподписистоятподЛеснымкодексомипоправкамикнему,т.е.ПутинаиМедведева),посколькуеслиразобратьсявситуацииобъективноинепредвзято,неизбежновыяснится,чтоглавныевиновники – авторыновоголесногозаконодательстваиреформлесногохозяйствапоследнегодесятилетия.Понятно, чтовсепричастныеклесным “реформам”последнегодесятилетиябудуттакомуобъективномуинепредвзятомуразбирательствувсемивозможнымиспособамипрепятствовать.



Wildfires fueled by record heat kill dozens, destroy 1,000 homes in Russia


 Vast sections of Russia were under a state of emergency Friday as more than 10,000 firefighters fought to save villages and forests from being reduced to ash and ember during the country’s hottest summer on record.

At least 25 deaths were reported in the last two days alone, and the Kremlin called out the army to help as fires raged over 214,136 acres of woodland and peat bog.

More than 1,000 homes have been destroyed, and thousands of people have been forced to flee as blazes left their houses in smoldering ruins and filled the air with smog and ash.

Weeping women greeted Prime Minister Vladimir Putin as he visited Verkhnyaya Vereya, a village where all 341 homes were burned to the ground and five residents were killed.

The village, one of three hamlets destroyed around Nizhny Novgorod, looked like a ghost town coated in gray ash. Nizhny Novgorod, Russia’s fifth-largest city, is about 300 miles east of Moscow.

“Before winter, each house will be restored,” Putin told the distressed crowd. “I promise – the village will be rebuilt.”

One sobbing woman thanked him for his “serious talk” and promises of $6,500 in compensation for each villager, and Putin kissed her on the cheek.

Officials have declared a state of emergency in 27 of Russia’s 83 regions. Hardest hit is the Moscow region – which doesn’t include the city itself – and areas south and east of the capital, including the Voronezh, Ryazan, Lipetsk and Nizhny Novgorod regions.

In all nearly 2.5 million acres have been consumed by wildfires so far this season.

Fires had all but encircled Voronezh, a city of 850,000 people 300 miles south of Moscow. The streets of Voronezh were filled with smog early Friday, and a giant wall of black smoke rose on the horizon. Officials later said they had contained the blaze.

July was the hottest month ever recorded in Russia.

About 24 million acres of grain crops – an area the size of Kentucky – have been destroyed by the heat wave, the Agriculture Ministry said.

The temperature hit 100 in Moscow on Thursday, setting a record.

“In 130 years of daily weather monitoring in Moscow, there has never been such a hot summer,” said Alexei Lyakhov, director of Moscow’s Meteorological Service. “This is not normal weather. This has never happened.”


Fires and Storms Kill at Least 28 in Russia


Stoked by parched forests, dried-out swamps and the hottest summertime temperatures ever recorded in Russia, wildfires burned down several villages in the central part of the country, killing about two dozen people, government officials said Friday.

In the hardest hit area, near the city of Nizhny Novgorod east of Moscow, Russian television showed residents ineffectually beating at the flames with hoes and switches of tree branches as houses burned in the background.

“It took only a second and the whole village was on fire,” one man, sweaty and smeared with soot, told the television station Vesti. Farther north, in St. Petersburg, a fierce thunderstorm after days of hot weather led to the deaths of seven people, including a 14-year-old girl, who were crushed by trees and a tractor-trailer rig toppled by high winds, officials said.

Russia, like much of the Northern Hemisphere, has been baking in a heat wave this summer. Thursday was the hottest day in Moscow since record keeping began there under the czars, 130 years go, topping out at 100 degrees.

On Friday, Russia’s prime minister, Vladimir V. Putin, flew to the Vyksa district outside Nizhny Novgorod to console people whose homes had burned overnight. More than 2,000 people were left homeless by the fires, emergency officials said, and few Russians carry insurance.

Mr. Putin promised government aid to rebuild.

Authorities declared a state of emergency that will prohibit people from walking in the forests in several districts of the Moscow region.

Thousands of acres of wheat and barley crops have dried up, and 27 agricultural regions have declared states of emergency because of crop failures. President Dmitri A. Medvedev said that the military might be deployed to fight fires, and that the government would consider buying more firefighting airplanes.

Rescue workers found 21 bodies in central Russia, including nine in villages in Vyksa, the Interfax news agency reported. Mr. Medvedev said rescue work was continuing and the total number of victims was uncertain.

The Ministry of Emergency Situations reported on its Web site that 779 wildfires were burning in Russia, including 42 peat bog fires, which are insidiously hard to fight as the flames burrow into the ground.

More than 10,000 firefighters and 2,158 pieces of firefighting equipment, including 43 airplanes, have been deployed to fight the fires.

 Record temperatures have sparked hundreds of wildfires in central Russia, burning down several villages like this one near Vyksa. A view of the village of Mokhovoe, which was destroyed by a forest fire near the town of Lukhovitsy some 84 miles southeast of Moscow on Friday.Women standing amid the debris of a burnt house on the outskirts of the Russian city of Voronezh. Hundreds lost their homes as a wave of forest fires spread through central Russia on Friday, fueled by strong winds and record temperatures.


Wildfires Rage on in Central Russia

More than 240,000 persons are engaged in taming wildfires that have been sweeping central Russia for the last couple of days, reports RIA Novosti Saturday.

Authorities are mustering all efforts to extinguish the disastrous flames, but to now avail at this time.

The fires have claimed the lives of at least 29 persons and have destroyed traditional villages with wooden houses, reports Deutsche Welle.

Forests and peat moors have caught flame after a week of unprecedented heat fell over continental Russia, with a record 38.2 degree C temperature measured in capital Moscow.

Moscow air is stifled by smoke from blazing wildfires in the countryside. In some areas an emergency situation has been called.

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin was seen traveling across ravaged regions to offer help and express support.

Peat fires are very hard to extinguish because of especially the high carbon content of peat, which can remain smoldering for long periods of time. In many areas the wildfires have turned into firestorms, reported a senior official in the Russian Ministry for Emergency Situations.



States of emergency spread through Russia as fires burn on

Officials in 14 of Russia’s regions have declared a state of emergency due to devastating forest and peat fires, the broadcaster Echo of Moscow reported Saturday.

Thousands of emergency services workers continued to fight more than 60 blazes across Russia. Hundreds of smaller “islands of fire” are also plaguing the country, the Civil Defence Ministry said on its website.

Some 20 forest and peat fires were raging in the areas surrounding the capital Moscow, where more than 10 million people live.

The death toll from the fires has reached 28, with hundreds of people injured.

July has been the hottest month on record, with temperatures averaging 35 degrees Celsius for weeks in many regions. Russian firefighters have blamed a lack of rain for the spread of the forest fires. Meteorologists don’t expect any relief in coming days.

Rescuers have brought dozens of children to safety in the worst- hit areas in central Russia. The destruction is reported to be especially bad in the region of Nizhny Novgorod, some 400 kilometers east of Moscow.

Thousands of people have lost all of their belongings, as entire villages have gone up in flames. Many of the houses in the Russian provinces are made out of wood, making them particularly vulnerable.

Tens of thousands of hectares of forest have also been destroyed.

The Civil Defence Ministry has deployed helicopters, planes, bulldozers and trains with large water tanks. President Dmitry Medvedev on Friday also ordered more than 2,000 soldiers with heavy equipment to join the fight against the fires.

“The situation is very grave,” he said.

Russian leaders have criticized regional officials for not doing enough as the disaster became apparent. Prime Minister Vladimir Putin warned of harsh consequences for the neglect shown by authorities during a visit to Nizhny Novgorod on Friday.

Provincial administrators, meanwhile, blamed careless by citizens for the spread of new fires.

Meanwhile, Germany’s foreign ministry offered Saturday to provide Russia with disaster aid, including medical supplies, emergency shelters and water purification equipment.



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