GFMC: Forest Fires in the Russian Federation

Forest Fires in the Russian Federation

29 July 2010

Latest MODIS scene, 29 July 2010:

MODIS Aqua scene depicted on 29 July 2010, 250m resolution

Heatwave Smog Turns Muscovites Into Heavy Smokers

The worst smog to hit Moscow in almost a decade has sent pollution 10 times above safe levels and Russia’s chief lung doctor on Wednesday said residents were inhaling the equivalent of 40 cigarettes every few hours.
The city of more than 10 million has been sweltering under a record breaking heatwave exacerbated by peat fires in areas surrounding the capital.
With street temperatures hitting almost daily all-time highs, the peat fire’s smoke and its cinder smell have crept into sultry offices, homes and restaurants.
“The concentration of carbon monoxide and suspended particles in Moscow surged up to 10 times above the limit last night,” Alexei Popikov, chief specialist at Mosekomonitoring, a city government agency overseeing air pollution, told Reuters.
Alexander Chuchalin, Russia’s chief pulmonologist, told a news conference of the dangers of those kind of levels.
(The current level of) carbon monoxide damages an average of 20 percent of red blood cells in a human body which equals to the effect of two packs of cigarettes smoked within three or four hours.”
He advised residents to wear masks, take antioxidants such as vitamin E, try to stay indoors as much as possible and use nebulizers to clear their lungs.
On Monday temperatures reached 37.4 degrees Celsius (99.3 degrees Fahrenheit), the highest figure since records began 130 years ago. On Wednesday temperatures were 37.3 degrees Celsius.
Alexei Yablokov, an internationally renowned biologist who heads Russia’s Green Party, said on Tuesday that air pollution caused by the smog could kill hundreds more people than usual in the Moscow region.
Moscow region chief Boris Gromov asked Prime Minister Vladimir Putin on Tuesday to allocate 25 billion rubles ($827 million) to fight the fires around Moscow.
The smog may begin to clear on Thursday evening, when an atmospheric front moving over from the west is expected to bring rain showers to the Moscow region, Dmitry Kiktev, deputy director of the Roshydromet meteorological service told Reuters.
He said the heatwave would retreat over the weekend, with extreme temperatures falling by four or five degrees Celsius. Source:

Wildfire Smoke Chokes Moscow

Moscow city center was enveloped by thick smoke on Wednesday coming from wildfires outside the Russian capital. The fires were sparked by the hot weather and drought that the country has been suffering this month.
Emergency officials say that peat-bog fires that can spontaneously burst into flames, are to blame for a large part of the natural disaster.
Russia’s emergency ministry has so far recorded about 50 flashpoints of peat-bog fires across the country, 43 of which are in the Moscow region.
The Russian meteorological office reports that the central region of the country, including Moscow, is currently most susceptible to fires.
On Tuesday, in a small village of Vladimirskaya, neighboring Moscow, wildfires destroyed about 20 houses. There were no reported deaths or injures.
Greenpeace Russia says it suspects the wildfires were able to destroy the village because emergency officials paid little attention to the area.
Forecasters say that temperatures in Moscow will hit 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit) in the coming days and then the heat wave may subside.
This summer has been Russia’s hottest on record. Source:

Forest fire destroys 7 houses, 25 outbuildings in Belgorod reg

MOSCOW, July 29 (Itar-Tass) — Seven residential houses and 25 household outbuildings have been destroyed by forest fire in central Russian Belgorod region, local police told Itar-Tass on Thursday, adding that no one was hurt.
According to police, the fire started in the region’s Stary Oskol district on an area of 90 hectares. The fire was put out early on Thursday.
“Seven one-storey brick dwelling houses and 25 household outhouses were damaged or destroyed by the fire in the village of Neznamovo. No one was hurt. The residents were evacuated,” police said. Source:

Moscow wrapped in smog as fires burn

A blanket of smog covered Moscow on Wednesday as forest fires raged for the third consecutive day.
The Russian capital has been wrapped in a grey haze since Monday as temperatures hit close to 40 degrees.
Officials said air pollution levels are eight times higher than normal.
Dozens of peat bogs are ablaze in the forests that surround Moscow.
Drought conditions have left the countryside parched, wiping out crops covering an area the size of Portugal.
Firefighters have so far struggled to get the flames under control because of the sweltering heat.
Prime Minister Vladmir Putin has set aside 635 million euros to deal with the emergency.
European Russia and Siberia has been gripped by a heatwave since June in one of the country’s hottest summers since records began.

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