GFMC: Forest Fires in the Russian Federation

Forest Fires in the Russian Federation

2 August 2010

Latest MODIS scenes:

Smoke drifting from fires in Nizhniy Novgorod region to the East. Source: MODIS on Terra, depicted 02 August 2010

Smoke plumes from fires burning in Nijni Novgorod Region are now covering the whole Moscow region and are even extending to Ukraine (see below). Source: MODIS Terra scene (aquired on 2 August 2010, 250m resolution).

This image of yesterday (01 August 2010) shows the smoke plume from Russia drifting to Ukraine – where high fire-smoke alert has been declared today. Source: MODIS Aqua scene (aquired on 1 August 2010, 250m resolution).

Map of regions most affected by wildfires in Russia on 2 August 2010.

GFMC analysis (comment inserted ex-post on this web page on 18 August 2010): By 16 August 2010 it has been noted that a wrong algorithm for the calculation of area burned had been applied since the beginning of 2009.The corrected data for the whole fire season are published starting 18 August 2010. A 2010 summary will be published at the end of the fire season.

Fire danger map for August for Eastern Siberia:

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.

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Latest (2 August 2010 03:00 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)

Wildfire  situation report of  the Aerial Forest Fire Center of Russia (Avialesookhrana)

1 August, 2010
According  to  the wildfire situation report of 1 August 2010 a total of
493  fires affected 73,749 ha forested and  3,575 ha non-forested lands.
124 fires of them were reported as new fires.

Through all of Russia 13,195 people, 63 aircraft, 2,009 bulldozers, tractors and engines have
been involved in fire fighting.

Since  the  beginning  of  the 2010 fire season a total of 23,472 fires
affected 503,062 ha forested and 202,749 ha non-forested lands of the Forest Fund of Russia.

Most fires have been reported in the following regions:
Sverdlovsk region – 71
Kirovsk region – 57
Moscow region – 64
Komi republic – 42

There are large fires in following regions:
Voronezh region – 12 fires,burning area 4,530 ha forested lands and 400 ha non-forested lands.
Vladivir region – 11 fires,burning area 12,462 ha forested lands.
Nizhniy Novgorod region – 25 fires,burning area 99,052 ha forested lands and 10,480 ha non-forested lands.
Ryazan region – 15 fires,burning area 23,590 ha forested lands and 4,473 ha non-forested lands.
Sverdlovsk region – 10 fires,burning area 3,629 ha forested lands and 44 ha non-forested lands.

Source: Aerial Forest Fire Center of Russia (Avialesookhrana)
Prepared for GFMC by Andrey Eritsov and Andrey Usachev

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:

Example of theEurasian Experimental Fire Weather Information System:
Latest map of the Experimental Fire Weather Index (FWI) for Russia and neighbouring countries

Detailed weather forecast for Europe:

Synoptic Charts, Temperatures, Dew Points, Precipitation and Wind forecast available at (GFS)

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.

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Map legend

Administrative boundaries

Overview map showing large fire locations detected over the last 10 days:

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Latest maps maps showing fire activities of  1 August 2010 (selection):

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More maps of other regions are available on request:

News from the media:

Dmitry Medvedev signed an executive order declaring a state of emergency in seven Russian regions hit by fires (2 August 2010, 17:00)

A state of emergency has been declared in the Republic of Mari El, Mordovia, and Vladimir, Voronezh, Moscow, Nizhny Novgorod, and Ryazan regions.

Under the order, Russia’s armed forces and other troops will take part in fire-fighting and relief effort. The order also recommends the regional authorities to get public organisations and volunteers involved too.

Acting on the order, the Russian Government and regional authorities must take all measures needed to help the families of people killed, injured, and assist those left homeless by the fires, including by providing housing and paying compensation for property destroyed.

Source: Website of the President of Russia (2 August 2010, 17:00)

President of Russia Dmitry Medvedev: We must all help out in this common tragedy (2 August 2010)

President of Russia Dmitry Medvedev: The heat wave we are experiencing has brought tragedy to several of our country’s regions. They are battling with fire. This natural disaster of immense proportions has hit Ryazan, Moscow, Nizhny Novgorod, Vladimir and Voronezh regions, the Republic of Mordovia, and other parts of Russia. Fires are blazing today in 14 of our country’s regions, with vast areas engulfed by flames.

The Emergency Situations Ministry and other state institutions are taking all possible measures to bring the fires under control and, most important of all, save people. I have instructed the Defence Ministry and other law enforcement, security and defence agencies to join in this work. We need to use every means available to fight this disaster. This is a very difficult task. The situation remains very serious. The heat is not lessening at all, and the forecasts are not promising. This means the risk of new fires starting remains very high.

I signed an executive order today declaring a state of emergency in several regions that have been hardest hit by the fires. But a lot depends on us, on how we respond and behave. With the cities sweltering in this stifling heat of course we want to get out and escape into nature. But here, we have to be extremely attentive, extremely careful, because even a single match left burning could spark an irreparable tragedy. This is not an oft-repeated word of warning, but is a very real and serious fact.

Our greatest task now is to help those affected by the fires to return to normal life as soon as possible. The fires have left more than two thousand of our fellow citizens homeless. Among them are many children, many old and sick people. Many families have lost everything they owned in the flames. This is a huge tragedy.

The state authorities are acutely aware of their responsibilities in this situation. I have instructed the Government and the regional authorities to make compensation payments to all who have been affected. These payments have already begun. I spoke yesterday with the heads of the affected regions, and they briefed me on what they are doing and that the money is coming in.

Rebuilding homes is another issue we need to address. This is perhaps the most complicated issue we face, but we must build new homes for everyone who has been left without a roof over their head, and we need to do this before the cold weather sets in. Decisions have already been taken and money has already been allocated for this work. But we need to act fast, and so I am going to reduce the normal amount of time it takes to organise this kind of work. I will choose specific sub-contractors, who will begin their work immediately, without going through the normal tender process. In this particular situation this is a justified decision.

The authorities will fulfil their responsibilities. But all of us, all citizens of this country, must do their part to help in this common tragedy. People are already joining forces to help those who have been left with nothing overnight. This is the way people throughout the world respond. People are coming to each other’s aid, uniting their efforts to fight the fires together and help those who have lost homes and possessions.

Let’s all help those caught up in this misfortune.

Source: Website of the President of Russia (Sochi, 2 August 2010, 18:30h)

Video: Russians Flee From Inside Forest Fire

Russian President Dmitri Medvedev has declared a state of emergency in response to theforest fires that have already caused thousands to evacuate and have destroyed or damaged 77 towns or village. Russian officialsreported over 500 new fires in seven oblasts, or administrative districts, over the past 24 hours alone. Because much of Western Russia has been stricken with record temperatures and weeks of drought, it is exceedingly difficult for officials to predict where the next wildfire will begin or how quickly it will spread. At least 40 people have died so far trying to escape the fires. The casualties almost included these four young Russian men, who videotaped their flight out of a smoldering wildfire in the Nizhny Novgorod oblast:The men, who at one point remark that the road itself is on fire, quickly turn from awe-struck to panicked once they realize that they are stuck. They briefly debate fleeing on foot but agree that leaving the car would block the road and doom the people in the cars behind them. They return the car to the road and finally emerge from the worst of the blaze. One of the men comments, “it was like being in hell.”

The most revealing moment of the video comes near the end when, after driving through for several minutes in near-black darkness, the car emerges from the smoke to show a blue, daytime sky. Many of the fires are burning peat bogs, producing a dark, heavy smoke that is extremely difficult to navigate. As the fires spread to Russia’s many bogs, evacuations will continue to be as chaotic, frightening, and dangerous as the one in the video above.

Official: Death toll from Russian wildfires reaches 34, but blazes shrinking by the day

Read more:
Official: Death toll from Russian wildfires reaches 34, but blazes shrinking by the day

Read more:
Official: Death toll from Russian wildfires reaches 34, but blazes shrinking by the day

Read more:
Official: Death toll from Russian wildfires reaches 34, but blazes shrinking by the day

Read more:
Official: Death toll from Russian wildfires reaches 34, but blazes shrinking by the day

Read more:

Armenia’s President offers deepest condolences to Dmitry Medvedev

Armenia’s President Serzh Sargsyan has sent a message of condolence to his Russian counterpart Dmitry Medvedev in connection with the state of emergency imposed in 14 Russian regions, a spokesperson to country’s presidential administration said.

“It was a profound sorrow when I heard about the natural disaster in central Russian regions that caused damage and casualties,” said President Sargsyan.

“It’s a deep sorrow to know that because of the wildfires thousands of people are homeless and the county faced serious damage.

“I offer my deepest condolences to families and relatives of killed people, and my wishes go to those who were inured from the fires, for a speedy recovery.”

At least 34 people have died in wildfires that have destroyed hundreds of homes and burned through central Russia. The fires were caused by record temperatures and a drought. Russian authorities have imposed a state of emergency around about 500 towns and villages.

Smog from fires blankets Moscow

GREY smog returned to blanket Moscow on Monday as peat and forest fires showed no sign of abating in the countryside surrounding the Russian capital.

The spires of the Kremlin and the golden onion domes of Orthodox churches were barely visible from afar as Muscovites wheezed their way to work in air that reeked of smoke.

The capital was blanketed by smoke for much of last week, but the last few days had seen a respite with cleaner air moving in. Officials have warned that the concentration of toxic particles could be 10 times higher than normal.

Eleven peat fires and 16 forest fires were still burning in the Moscow region on Monday morning, the emergencies ministry said.

Emergencies Minister Sergei Shoigu lashed out at people for creating the conditions for fires with barbecues and camp fires during their weekend leisure activities. ‘People need to understand that they need to understand all the rules if they go into the forest. Our coming week of work depends on how they spent their days off,’ he said in comments broadcast on state television.

Forecasters have warned there is no chance of the heatwave relenting for the moment, with temperatures for between 35-42 degrees Celsius expected in Moscow and central Russia over the next days.

Official: Death toll from Russian wildfires reaches 34, but blazes shrinking by the day

Read more:
Official: Death toll from Russian wildfires reaches 34, but blazes shrinking by the day

Read more:

Death toll from Russian wildfires reaches 34
Russia’s Emergencies Ministry says 34 people are known to have died in the recent wave of wildfires, which have destroyed hundreds of homes but are thought to be slowly dying down.
Vladimir Stepanov, who heads the Emergencies Ministry’s crisis response center, said in televised comments that nationwide 500 new fires had been registered in the past 24 hours, but most of them were immediately doused.
Officials over the weekend said 28 people had died in the fires, which by Sunday were engulfing an area equivalent to 316,000 acres (128,000 hectares). Stepanov said Monday the number had shrunk by a further 7,000 acres.
About 1,500 homes have been wiped out as fires have torn through Central and Western Russia, boosted by a record heat wave that has dried forests and fields to a crisp.

Russian Patriarch Prays For Rain As Wildfires Rage

Russian Patriarch Prays For Rain As Wildfires Rage Photo: Mikhail Voskresensky
A woman passes by a church while heavy smoke from fire caused by severe heat is seen in the background, outside the town of Vyksa, some 150 km (93 miles) south-west of the Volga city of Nizhny Novgorod, July 29, 2010.
Photo: Mikhail Voskresensky

Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill asked Russians to pray for rain on Sunday as wildfires raged across the European parts of the vast country, sweltering since June in an unprecedented heat wave.
The hottest weather since records began 130 years ago has withered crops and pushed thousands of farmers to the verge of bankruptcy.
The Emergencies Ministry said that as of Sunday morning, 774 fires, including 369 that started since Saturday, were raging in an area totaling about 130,000 hectares (500 sq miles), about the size of the administrative area of the city of Los Angeles.
At least 28 people have died in wildfires in European Russia in the past few days, the ministry said and more than 5,200 people have been evacuated.
“Grief has come to our nation, human lives have been lost, hundreds have lost shelter and thousands have been left without sustenance, including many children,” national media quoted Patriarch Kirill as saying in a prayer during a visit to the Nizhny Novgorod region, one of the worst hit by fires.
“I call upon everyone to unite in a prayer for rain to descend on our earth.”
Thick smoke from nearby forest fires blanketed a magnificent monastery where Kirill, clad in a richly embroidered gold cloak, conducted an outdoor liturgy glorifying a Russian saint, Russia’s NTV channel showed.
The mainly elderly worshippers stood on their knees as Kirill p
ayed for rain. “This (fires) is punishment sent to us for sins,” a woman worshipper told NTV.
“We should do only good deeds and pray.”
Itar-Tass news agency quoted Nizhny Novgorod Governor Valery Shantsev as saying fire fighters were trying to prevent fires in a nature reserve in next-door Mordovia from reaching the Russian Federal Nuclear Center in his region.
“We would like to employ aircraft to take part in putting out the flames, but it cannot work at the moment … due to low visibility,” he said.
The nuclear center, now a premiere research facility, was a top-secret location in Soviet times codenamed Arzamas-16, or simply “the Site,” where the first Soviet atomic and hydrogen bombs were designed in the Cold War weapons race with the United States.


The Emergencies Ministry said it saw no immediate respite.
“The threat of new fires has increased sharply due to unfavorable weather in a number of regions in the Central and Volga federal districts, with temperatures soaring to up to 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit) and winds of up to 20 meters per second,” the ministry said.
The drought in Russia, one of the world’s biggest wheat exporters, has sent global prices soaring to year highs. U.S. wheat futures rose more than 5 percent on Friday and posted the biggest monthly percentage gain since at least 1959.
Around 240,000 people were battling the flames, the Emergencies Ministry said. Army units, including elite paratroops, were taking part in the fight.
Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has ordered his government to allocate 5 billion roubles ($165 million) to help fire victims.

Hundreds of new wildfires erupt in Russian forests
VORONEZH, Russia — Hundreds of new fires broke out yesterday in Russian forests and fields that have been dried to a crisp by drought and record heat, but firefighters claimed success in bringing some of the wildfires raging around cities under control.
The firefighters got much-needed help from residents desperate to save their homes, who shoveled sand onto the flames and carted water in large plastic bottles.
The wildfires that began threatening much of western Russia last week have killed 28 people and destroyed or damaged 77 towns or villages, the Emergencies Ministry said. Thousands of people have been evacuated from areas in the path of flames; no deaths have been recorded since late Wednesday.
Troops and volunteers have joined tens of thousands of firefighters in combating the fires, which blazed just outside Moscow and in several provinces east and south of the capital.

A woman in Voronezh, Russia, held a crying baby near the remains of her burnt-out home.
A woman in Voronezh, Russia, held a crying baby near the remains of her burnt-out home. (Alexey Sazonov/ AFP/ Getty Images)

The region around Voronezh, a city of 850,000 people about 300 miles south of Moscow, has been one of the worst hit. Half of the 300 homes in the village of Maslovka were reduced to cinders.
Emergencies Ministry spokeswoman Yelena Chernova said fires in the Voronezh region were under control yesterday and no longer threatened any population centers.
But woodlands on the edge of the city, about a mile from some houses, continued to burn. Firefighters sprayed water from hoses and dumped it from the air, while local residents pitched in on the ground.
Some 320 new fires broke out yesterday, but 210 were extinguished, the Emergencies Ministry said, while the total territory ablaze shrank by thousands of acres to about 316,000 acres. No homes were damaged by fire during the weekend, it said.
Fires have devastated the regions around Nizhny Novgorod, Russia’s fifth-largest city, and the city of Ryazan, just southeast of Moscow. They also were moving into regions farther to the east such as Mordovia and Tatarstan.
Smoky air has settled over cities, already baking in the heat, and many residents are complaining of headaches and intestinal ailments. In Moscow, the smog has come mainly from fires in dried-up peat bogs. Source:

Wildfires Continue to Rage Across Parts of Russia

Residents search belongings from the ruin of their houses which were destroyed by a forest fire in the town of Voronezh some 500 km south of Moscow, 31 Jul 2010
Photo: AP
Residents search belongings from the ruin of their houses which were destroyed by a forest fire in the town of Voronezh some 500 km south of Moscow, Russia, 31 Jul 2010

Wildfires continue to rage across Russia as the country experiences the worst heat wave in more than a century. At least 30 people have died, and more than 1,200 dwellings have burned to the ground.
Russian emergency officials say firefighters are engaged in an uphill battle as blazes continue across Russia and temperatures remain hovering near the hundred-degree mark.
The Kremlin has deployed hundreds of thousands of firefighters and volunteers, in an attempt to keep the fires under control, but emergency officials say that it is difficult due to the high temperatures and shifting winds
Fires in the Far-East region have grown three times, in size, in the past 24 hours, according to the region’s forestry department. One of the hardest hit is the remote Kamchatka peninsula.
State television footage has shown complete villages that have burned to the ground while fires continue to billow huge plumes of smoke into the air.
A resident of Kazan, Lyudmila Romanova, says her family’s health has been affected.
She says her seven-month-old granddaughter has started to have breathing problems due to the thick smoke, but that her grandson is more or less okay.
Voronezh, some 300 miles south of Moscow, was one of the hardest-hit regions. Officials say that nearly 600 people have been left homeless due to the flames.
Igor Vlaznev, head of the region’s fire-fighter’s unit, says the situation remains very tense. He says that everyone is praying to God, day and night, for rain to fall. He says it is the only thing that will help.
Weather forecasters say that temperatures are expected to remain near the century mark for the next few days, with no rain in sight.
Meanwhile, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin described the situation as very difficult, chided the authorities for not doing more to prevent damage, and fire those who do not do their part to get the blazes under control.
Mr. Putin also promised that all of the destroyed homes would be rebuilt by October after pledging more than $150 million towards the rebuilding effort. Source:


For more details on fire in the Russian Federation:

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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