In August 1996 the editor of IFFN received an update of information on the fires of 1996 provided by the Mr. Erdenesaikhan Naidansuren National Remote Sensing Centre which belongs to the Ministry for Nature and Environment of Mongolia:
From 27 February to 3 June 1996 a total of 386 forest and steppe fires broke out in 115 places over Mongolia and total of 2.3 million ha of forest, 7.8 million ha of pasture land have been affected by these fires. More than 7000 livestock, 210 houses, 560 communication facilities and 576 facilities for livestock were devastated by the blaze, leaving many peoples homeless. Also 25 people died and 65 were seriously injured by this fires. The Government of Mongolia quoted environmental damage of US$ 2 billion as preliminary estimation.
The development of space technology has provided a new method for forest fire monitoring, especially using meteorological satellites, which have received great attention because of their wide view, high observation frequency and low cost. All staff of the National Remote Sensing Center from the beginning to end of fire conflagration have worked with high efficiency to serve all organizations involved in disaster management. At this time our center received and processed NOAA AVHRR imageries which allowed precise fire location. People in the entire country are now recognizing the importance of satellite remote sensing data for wildfire prevention and fighting. At present we are working on the evaluation of the economic and environmental damages caused by the wildfires. There are several problems like restoration of forests, establishment of powerful fire prevention systems, improvement of satellite fire monitoring equipment and lack of the natural disaster monitoring experts by satellite.
From: Erdenesaikhan Naidansuren Researcher, National Remote Sensing Center Address: Ministry for Nature and Environment Hudaldaany gudamj-5 Ulaanbaatar-11 MONGOLIA