A new season of fires has started in Buryatia since April 2022 and forest fires have already started in the republic.
According to the press service of the Republican Forest Service (RALH), since the beginning of the new firefighting season, there have been 38 forest fires in a total area of 1003.9 hectares. For the same period of 2021, 31 forest fires were recorded in an area of 830.84 acres.
In early April, Russian Minister of Natural Resources Alexander Kozlov listed Buryatia among the Federation’s issues with the most tense situation related to forest fires. And since April 11, a special fire regime has been introduced in the republic. Restricts access to the forest for people and equipment, defines a list of recreational areas where Buryatia residents can live freely.
Let’s try to figure out what is the reason for the frequent forest fires in Buryatia.
Fire from soils of other categories
The reason, in most cases, is the passage of fire from lands of other categories. This is 52.7% of all cases – 20 cases of fires. In second place is the careless handling of fire – 44.7% or 17 fires. The third reason is the burning of grass: 2.6% – a fire. At the same time, as explained in the RALH press service, the phrase “the passage of fire from the lands of other categories” can actually be understood as the same burning of dry grass in the spring, as a rule, unauthorized burning.
As of April 27 alone, there have been 14 cases of dry grass fires in Buryatia totaling more than 249 hectares per day. The largest of these took place on agricultural land, with a total area of 245 hectares. On April 25, a forest fire broke out near the village of Chesan in the Kizhinginsky district. The culprit turned out to be a resident of the area who threw a lime cigarette on dry grass. In the Dzhidinsky area, from April 18 to April 21, a large forest fire continued due to fallen dry grass, which was eliminated with great difficulty, including the use of a helicopter. Also on April 21, forest fires in the Kabansky and Kyakhtinsky areas were extinguished. There have already been many such cases. According to RALH, as of April 19, 57% of the fires that broke out were due to burning grass, when the fire spread to forests from other areas.
Already while working on this material, another forest fire was extinguished in the Ivolginsky area, which, according to RALH, ”due to the transfer of fire from lands of other categories”.
Enough special equipment
In 2022, 761.4 million rubles are planned from the federal budget for measures to protect forests from fire. This is twice as much as in 2021. Funding for forest fires has quadrupled to 200 million rubles.
The increase in the budget for ground monitoring of forest fire risk compared to last year in Buryatia amounted to 169% or 53.8 million rubles. Funding for aerial surveillance increased by 44% to 161 million rubles.
Also, in the context of the implementation of the national project “Ecology” of the federal project “Conservation of forests”, the equipment of forest fires is updated in the democracy. This year, 96.1 million rubles have been allocated from the federal budget for renovation. 14 units of special equipment have already been received – tankers, all-terrain vehicles, bulldozers, etc. Another 14 units of equipment are expected to arrive.
In just three years, Buryatia received 177 units of forest fire equipment. 500 million rubles were allocated for the purchase. The equipment of Buryatia forest enterprises with equipment for the fight against forest fires in 2021 amounted to 87%. By 2024, this index is planned to increase to 100%, according to the implementation of the national project “Ecology”.
On March 30, the head of the Federal Forest Service, Ivan Sovetnikov, visited Buryatia, handing over new forest fire equipment to the foresters of the republic. In total, they were handed over six vehicles: trucks, a shift bus, an ATV and a tanker. Trucks, “shifts” and tankers are used to deliver equipment and personnel to the scene of the fire and the identification of forest fires is performed on an ATV. The head of Rosleskhoz also praised the work of Buryat foresters.
“Buryatia is objectively well prepared for the season of forest fires and we see that. Colleagues say that a few years ago there was no sports ground or training center at the base of air forest protection and today there is a new renovated building and employees have the opportunity not only to study but also to live in a hostel and train in sports branches, “said Ivan Sovetnikov.
To combat forest fires, Buryatia RALH also conducts educational work with the population, with the youth and organizes thematic performances for students. Thus, Kurumkan Forest Service officials recently conducted a lesson at Kurumkan School No. 2, where they talked to the children about the causes of forest fires, about forest animals, as well as about the rules of behavior in the forest. And in the Muisky area of Buryatia, local forestry officials, along with the Sozvezdie Children’s Special Education Center, held a regional painting competition, “Let’s Protect the Forest from Fire.” The best projects will be used for models for warning signs, which are hung in the woods.
In conclusion, we can recall that there is a special fire regime in Buryatia, access to the forest is limited. Citizens are urged to comply with fire safety rules, to report all forest fires on the forest protection hotline: 8 3012 20-44-44, the telephone of the unified mission service “112” is also working.