Hiding information on forest fires in Russia

Hiding information on forest fires in Russia

15 May 2010

published by www.forestforum.ru

Russia — EMERCOM and the Federal Forest Agency (FFA) tried to hide an information about the large fire in Kovrov district of Vladimir Region, Russia, near the village Krasni Mayak. The area burned is estimated about 10,000 ha, mainly affected by crown fires. The fire nearly burned the village itself. Citizens and fire fighters saved it. Fire was detected by local people on 9 May 2010, but it might have started earlier.

At the same time FFA reported that in Vladimir region from the beginning of the fire season up to 13 May 2010 a total of 848 ha of forest area was burned only.

The Main Department of EMERCOM in Vladimir region reported that on 7 and 11 to 14 May 2010 there were no active fires in Vladimir region. (According to reports all few small fires had been brought under control on the same days they started.)

So, the boasted information system of FFA based on remote sensing that was advertised very optimistic, in fact is not deduced the trust. If the system is not registered such a large fire in one of the populated regions in Central part of Russia, that system is not good, and FFA does not have a real information. A bit earlier the other fire in Ivanovskay region nearly burned down a village, at the beginning FFA and EMERCOM also did not know about that fire. The area burned is about 10,000 ha.

That fire in Kovrov district of Vladimir region not only destroyed the large forest area but nearly burned down entire village. As local people saying that no one was responding to the fire till it came close to their village. When they (local people) called to EMERCOM office , they have got an answer that they should fight the fire with own power (local citizens); at that time, however, the fire was already burning in the crowns and rapidly moving to the village.

Local people hardly saved their homes, when first brigades of EMERCOM arrived including VIP personal (chiefs from differ institutions). Even a priest arrived. If they arrived half our later (fire brigades) the village might burn down completely (that happened once in 1948). One of chiefs recommended to people to go near the pond and if fire will burn town to jump there and save their lives. Local people were forbidden to speak about fire to mass media – and it seems that this worked well since there was no information about that fire in the Media.

According to the information from local people there was not provided any preventive activities to save the village from wildfires. Plow lines started to build while fire was moving toward to the town.

On 12 May 2010 the Forest Forum showed the a map of the fires based on satellite images of the system FIRMS:

Original source of the Greenpeace comment (in Russian):


FIRMS fire map and scenes of burned forests and affected village Krasni Mayak


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