In addition to the general statistical information on forest fires in the Russian Federation, which was published in the last issue of International Forest Fire News, some more detailed data are given for the Krasnoyarsk Region. For the Russian fire managers and fire researchers Krasnoyarsk is one of the most important locations in Siberia. The presence of the Forest Fire Laboratory of the Russian Academy of Science, Siberian Branch, and the Institute for Forest Protection and Forestry Mechanization, is one of the reasons why next year’s research activities will focus on that Region. The other reason why Krasnoyarsk was selected is the presence of the Aerial Fire Base of Krasnoyarsk Region, which belongs to Avialesookhrana. All three institutions are located on one site in Akademgorodok, the Research Compound of the city.
The editor of IFFN several times met and interviewed Mr. Nikolaij Kovalev, the Chief of the Aerial Fire Base. Mr. Kovalev has expressed his willingness to support the international fire research and development activities which have been developing successively since 1991. He is strongly backed by Avialesookhrana headquarters in Pushkino (Moscow Region). Mr. Kovalev made available selected statistical data which reveal the importance and magnitude of wildfires in that region.
The Krasnoyarsk Region covers a total land area of 240 million km2, with a population of 3.5 million. The Aerial Fire Base is responsible for protecting forest lands (National Forests, Forest Enterprises) and deer pastures, on ca. 85 million ha (Fig.1 and 2); the Fire Base is also responsible for fire protection on the territories of Tuva and Kha’kasia. On the average the Fire Base employs more than 80 airplanes (fixed-wing and helicopters) and 37 fire crews with more than 800 airborne fire fighters (smokejumpers and helirappellers; cf. last issue of IFFN). This means that each fire crew has to protect ca. 2 million ha.
Figure 3 shows that most fires are caused by humans. The share of lightning fires, however, is higher than in other regions of the world. The number of fires and the land area affected by fires are given in Figure 4. It must be remembered, however, that these numbers are referring to the land under fire protection only. This means that the fires burning in the unprotected taiga and tundra regions are statistically not represented. Figure 6 shows that the period of highest wildfire activity may vary from year to year. Finally some information on fire fighter accidents are given in Figure 7. These data reflect a high training standard of the Russian smokejumpers.
The upcoming fire research activities in Siberia are aiming, among other things, to improve operational systems of fire intelligence for the whole of the Siberian taiga and tundra. These systems will be based primarily on the use of NOAA AVHRR satellite information which will be added to the existing Russian sputnik sensors.
Fig.1.: Map of the Krasnoyarsk Region. Shaded areas are under fire protection.
Fig. 2: Territory under aerial fire protection (millions of hectars)
Fig.3 : Causes of forest fires in the Krasnoyarsk Region (1981 – 1991)
Fig. 4: Number of fires and area burned in the Krasnoyarsk Region (1981 – 1991)
Fig.5: Number and total size of large fires (= fires > 200 ha)
Fig. 6: Monthly distribution of wildfire occurence in the Krasnoyarsk Region (1981 – 1991)
Fig. 7: Total Number of smokejumpers accidents in the Krasnoyarsk Region (1981 – 1991)