Following the disastrous effects of the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant accident in 1986 on forests, a meeting on “Forest Fires and the Areas Contaminated by Radionuclids” was held in Klintsi, Briansk Region, 18-19 May 1993. Scientists and administrators from the Russian Federation, Belarus and Ukraine reported about latest research in the contaminated areas and on technologies to detect and suppress fires in the contaminated regions. Among other, Sergeij Dusha-Gudym gave a report on the state of contamination (see first report published in IFFN No.7, August 1993). An updated map of the extent of contaminated lands in Russia, together with the information on forest fires occurring in 1992, was presented by S.Dusha-Gudym (Fig.1); the full investigation on fire in contaminated forests will be published in the volume “Fire in Ecosystems of Boreal Eurasia” [see FIRESCAN report]). The representatives of the Klintsi meeting concluded:
“In the forests polluted with a high concentration of radionuclides all forestry operations have been abandoned. As a consequence forest stands are in a critical condition, especially with an increased danger of fire. Uncontrolled wildfires may lead to a second contamination of nearby territories through radionuclides lifted with the smoke and ash. Therefore the Forest Service of Russia and the Ministries of Forestry of Belarus and Ukraine consider fire prevention and control as essential. For this purposed the technical base of the fire services must be strengthened and needs more inputs from relevant fire research. Preliminary results of the research conducted by the Research Institute for Forest Chemistry (Ivanteevka/Pushkino, Moscow Region) and the Forest Research Institute of Belarus reveal the difficulties to conduct research in such areas.
The participants of the conference recommend the development and strengthening of the fire protection service in the boundary region of the three countries, to be conducted as a cooperative effort. The following research priorities were defined: (1) modelling transmission of radionuclides during fire activity; (2) fuel inventory methodologies; (3) methods of protecting humans against the effects of radionuclid contamination. The creation of an International Centre for Forest Fire Prevention and Control in Territories Contaminated by Radionuclids is being considered, on the base of the All-Russian Research Institute of Forest Chemistry (VNIIKhleskhoz).”
Contact addresses for parties interested in cooperative in fire research on contaminated forest lands in Russia and Belarus are:
Sergei I. Dusha-Gudym Head, Forest Fire Laboratory
All-Russian Research Institute of Forest Chemistry (VNIIKhleskhoz) Zavodskaya Str.10 RU-141250 Ivanteevka (Moscow Region) Leonid P.Orlov Main Expert
Government of Belarus Science and New Technology Department Government House Minsk, 220010 Belarus
Fig.1. Land area in the Russian Federation contaminated by Caesium-137 (the main map shows the territory East of Chernobyl nuclear power plant). The numbers within the districts (Oblasts) give the number of forest fires and the total area affected by fire in 1992. (Dusha-Gudym 1994).
The information in this country report was jointly compiled and prepared by:
Eduard P. Davidenko National Aerial Forest Fire Center Avialesookhrana Gorkogo St. 20 RU – 141200 Pushkino, Moscow Region and Johann Georg Goldammer (Editor of IFFN)