Almost all regions of Russia have already faced the problem of forest fires. According to the Deputy Head of the Ministry of Emergency Situations, Alexander Chupriyan, a special fire regime has been introduced in the territory of 49 subjects of the Russian Federation, the period of fire is open to 77 subjects. He announced this at a meeting with the President of the Russian Federation on the situation with the fires on May 10. In 2022, 17 people (including one child) died in fires in Siberia and the Urals, while the same number were hospitalized. About 1,298 buildings were destroyed, including 730 residential buildings.
The problem of fires, traditional for the regions of Siberia and the Far East, has escalated throughout Russia in 2021. Putin said during the meeting that “it is impossible to allow a recurrence of the situation” when “forest fires” have become the most intense and has been extended in recent years “. In his opinion, the regional authorities now have all the necessary powers, equipment, financial resources to prevent forest fires. Putin said his government would issue a decree to help assess the effectiveness of regional authorities in fighting forest fires. result, ie reduction of the extent of forest fires for each region of the Federation and the country as a whole.
The actions of the regional authorities in the regions for the prevention of fires are now being evaluated by the Rosleskhoz departments in the federal districts, said a representative of the department in Vedomosti. Rosleskhoz has already prepared and sent proposals to the government to establish a BDE to evaluate the effectiveness of the work of those involved in preventing and fighting forest fires, he said.
The Russian Ecological Society (REO) believes that increasing the personal responsibility of regional leaders is the right decision. “The key issue is the adequacy of the powers and the necessary resources, mainly financial. That is, who will be asked by whom – this is a plus, but governors should also have the tools to ensure [выполнение] “KPI for the fires,” Rashid Ismailov, head of REO, told Vedomosti.
The regions do not have enough resources to resolve the issue, says Greenpeace expert Alexei Yaroshenko. He recalled that the powers to fight fires in federal forests (most of them are federal) were transferred to the regions in 2007. At the same time, the fact that the government funds the fight against fires, but not the prevention and conservation of forests, problem. According to Greenpeace, in order for the regions to be able to fulfill all the “forest powers” that have been transferred to them, they now need at least 130-150 billion rubles nationally. in the year. And they received this year [на это] only about 41 billion. “So it often turns out that, for example, there is new firefighting equipment, but there are not people working on it or there is not enough fuel,” says Yaroshenko. At the same time, the control zones, according to him, have been reduced insignificantly: a few years ago they occupied about 52% of Russian forests, now it is about 45%.
A large number of firefighters are needed only during peak hours, said a source in the Transbaikalia administration, but in the spring there are not enough people to respond to all cases (black loggers, burning grass in villages and fires in tourist areas). “In the end, we have to decide exactly where to send equipment and firefighters. There are so-called forest fire control zones: this is, in general, taiga, far from settlements, which can not be extinguished. It does not go out here. “This does not become a problem until the settlements are filled with smoke,” he explains.
The difficulties stem from the inaccuracy of fire statistics, Yaroshenko said. According to Chupriyan, since the beginning of the year, about 4,000 forest fires have broken out in Russia over an area of 270,000 hectares. “As of May 10, there were 101 forest fires in an area of 12,000 acres,” the minister said. At the same time, according to the ISDM-Rosleskhoz remote monitoring system (the official state forest fire monitoring system set up by experts from the Space Research Institute and managed by the Federal Forest Service and the Avialesokhrana Fire Department), the year on May 10 in Russia amounted to 4.48 million hectares, including forest land – 1.12 million hectares. “Fighting such a large scale of forest fires detected by the ISDM-Rosleskhoz remote monitoring system requires an order of magnitude larger forces and means. [чем есть сейчас]”- stressed Yaroshenko. Vedomosti sent a request to the Ministry of Emergency Situations.
At the same time, not enough attention is being paid today to fire prevention propaganda, says Kasya Kulkova, head of the volunteer forest fire brigade in the Central Region. Ivan Sovetnikov, head of Rosleskhoz, agrees. The main cause of all forest fires in Russia is the negligence or direct intent of people, he said on the air of the TV channel Rossiya-24. A Rosleskhoz spokesman said that as of May 11, 93% of all forest fires in the forest fund area had been caused by careless handling of the fire by the local population, burning dry grass and anthropogenic factors.