Forest fires becoming frequent in Kazakhstan

Forest fires becoming frequent in Kazakhstan

18 April 2012

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Kazakhstan — Forest fires are becoming more frequent in Kazakhstan, reports citing Kazakhstan Emergency Situations Minister Vladimir Bozhko as saying at the video-conference with the country’s regional authorities called Measures on prevention and elimination of forest and steppe fires in fire-hazardous period of 2012.

“Ensuring fire safety in forest and steppe areas of the country has become more difficult lately. Last year we have had many rains and there was a high grass stand and there are remains of helm on the fields that make the fire safety more complicated,” Vladimir Bozhko said.

According to the Minister, over 500 forest fires happen in Kazakhstan annually. There have been 450 fires at the territory of the state forest area in 2011. Fire destroyed over 3 thousand hectares of forests. The steppes were on fire less frequently last year: emergency situations authorities registered 130 fired. However, the area of steppe fires was much bigger than forest fires area: over 76 thousand hectares. This year the departments of the state fire-fighting services has already suppressed fires over 50 times.

“Since the beginning of this year 17 fires were registered at the territory of the state forest areas, 6 of them happened on specially protected territories falling under the jurisdiction of the Agricultural Ministry and 11 of them happened in the forests under jurisdiction of local executive authorities. Comparing to the same period last year, the number of forest fires almost tripled. Fire areas increased 13-fold. The majority of natural fires happen because of careless handling of fire like cigarette stubs or bonfires,” chairman of the fire-fighting commission Serik Aubakirov said.

According to Aubakirov, joint training on elimination of natural fires will be held this May in all regions bordering on Russia.

A big fire happened in 2010 in Pavlodar oblast. It moved into the territory of Russia because of a strong wind.

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