GFMC: Forest Fires in the Russian Federation

Forest Fires in the Russian Federation

14 August 2010

Latest MODIS scenes:

MODIS Terra, 14 August, 1km resolution. Source: MODIS

Moscow Region, 14 August. Source: MODIS

Satellite map showing the fires burning near Sarov, 14 August 2010. Source: German Aerospace Center.

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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Moscow Region Vladimir Region    Nizhni Novgorod Region

More maps of other regions are available on request:

According to the latest satellite-derived analysis provided by the Sukachev Institute for Forest (Krasnoyarsk) the total area burned per Region by 13 August:

  • Moscow Region: 43 864 ha

  • Vladimir Region: 95 460 ha

  • Nizhni Novgorod Region: 305 219  ha

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.

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

News from the Media:

US Joins Firefighting Efforts in Russia

A Russian Emergencies Ministry soldier floods a peat bog to prevent an outbreak of fire near the town of Shatura, some 120 km (75 miles) southeast of Moscow, 13 Aug 2010

Photo: AP

A Russian Emergencies Ministry soldier floods a peat bog to prevent an outbreak of fire near the town of Shatura, some 120 km (75 miles) southeast of Moscow, 13 Aug 2010

The United States has joined in efforts to combat weeks of wildfires that have devastated parts of Russia, leaving scores dead and thousands homeless.

In a telephone call on Thursday to Russian President Dmitri Medvedev, U.S. President Barack Obama expressed his condolences and said several federal agencies and the state of California are mobilizing firefighting equipment.  The first deliveries of the $2.5 million in aid that includes water tanks, fire-protective clothing and medical kits arrived in Russia on Friday.

Russia’s emergencies ministry said more than 500 fires are continuing to burn across the country.  But the area around Moscow, the capital, has seen the first significant rain in weeks, helping the firefighting efforts and providing some relief from the record heat.

Russian authorities say the fires are on the decline even though a new wildfire has broken out dangerously close to Russia’s main nuclear research facility in Sarov, east of Moscow.   Thousands of firefighters were called in from neighboring states to battle the blaze.

Adding to the country’s misery is the unprecedented drought that has cost Russia close to a third of its wheat crop.

In Spain, brush fires in the country’s northwestern Galicia region has taken the lives of two firefighters.  Arson is believed to be the cause of the blaze as well several fires that have recently broken out in neighboring Portugal. Source:

Wildfires across Russia abate

The Russian area on fire has decreased by 8,000 hectares and is now 56,200 hectares, the Emergencies Ministry said on Saturday.

Firefighters have managed to cut by half fires in Moscow region’s area from 29 to 16, ministry spokeswoman Irina Andrianova said. Currently, 84 hectares are on fire in Moscow region.

As wildfires across the region have slacked off, firefighters do not need volunteer’s assistance any more, a spokesman for the Moscow region’s branch of the Russia’s Emergencies Ministry said on Saturday.

“The situation with the forest and peat bog fires in Moscow region has stabilized. There is no longer need to engage volunteers,” the spokesman said.

He emphasized, that local residents have rendered substantial support to firefighters.

Peat bog fires have been completely quenched in four Moscow region’s districts, Deputy Emergencies Minister Alexander Chupriyan said on Friday.

A scorching heat wave has gripped much of European Russia since mid-June, which coupled with the worst drought since the 1970s has made the countryside particularly susceptible to wildfires.

Thousands of emergency workers and military personnel have been working round the clock for almost three weeks to fight fires in 22 Russian regions. The immediate economic cost of the fires has been estimated at $15 billion.

MOSCOW, August 14 (RIA Novosti)

Rains give Moscow a break from heat, wildfires’ smoke

12:00 AM CDT on Saturday, August 14, 2010

MOSCOW – Heavy downpours cooled the Russian capital Friday after weeks of unprecedented heat, but dozens of wildfires still raged around Moscow, and a new blaze broke out near the country’s top nuclear research center.

PAVEL GOLOVKIN/The Associated Press

PAVEL GOLOVKIN/The Associated Press

A volunteerfrom Moscow tried to extinguish a forest fire Thursday as it neared the village of Kovrigino, 46 miles east of Moscow.

Moscow remained largely free of the clouds of suffocating smog that affected it earlier, but meteorologists said smoke from burning forests and peat bogs may choke the city over the weekend if the wind direction changes.

The Emergency Situations Ministry said its teams had managed to reduce the area covered by wildfires, but more than 500 fires were still burning across the country, including 29 around Moscow.

Russia has been battling the fires for nearly three weeks. A new wildfire started east of the nuclear research facility in Sarov, 300 miles east of Moscow. The blaze spread quickly, prompting firefighters to call in reinforcements.

Earlier this month, wildfires around Sarov prompted the state nuclear agency to move all explosive and radioactive material as a precaution.

Sergei Novikov, a spokesman for the Rosatom state atomic corporation, said that the radioactive and explosive materials were moved back to Sarov after the fire situation stabilized and that there was no immediate need to move them out again.

Russia was receiving help from the United States, which on Friday began deliveries of firefighting equipment valued at $2.5 million, the U.S. Embassy said. Several other countries also have contributed to the firefighting effort.  Source: The Associated Press

Haze over Moscow lifts as rain showers wash cityRains finally helped cool and wash down Moscow Friday as the country suffers on through record heat wave.

Saturday 14th August, 2010Rains have finally delivered the relief residents of Moscow have been hoping for during days of poisonous smoke shrouding the capital of Russia.

The heavy showers helped beleaguered firefighters bring under control many of the wildfires burning around the city, which still number around 29, with a further 500 wildfires burning across the country.

The heavy shroud, which has been killing around 700 people per day since it descended on the city, was lifted as the winds changed and the rains washed down the choked capital.

Meteorologists have warned that the city may be cloaked in the poisonous haze again, however, if the winds change, as the wildfires show no signs of dying in the near future.

A new concern for the Russian government has been the vicinity of some wildfires to the town of Sarov, which houses the country’s nuclear weapons center. As a precaution, all explosives and radioactive materials were relocated by the military while the fires were brought under control.

A similar problem has been wildfires near Chernobyl, where authorities have worried the fires may lift and redistribute radioactive particles across the wider region.

However, firefighters have reportedly contained the fires in this area and the government insists there is no danger to the public.

Russia has been suffering through the worst heat wave ever recorded in the years since the country began keeping records 130 years ago and wildfires and drought have destroyed a third of the country’s wheat crops, causing food insecurity in one of the world’s leading wheat exporters. Source: Malaysia News.Net

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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