About 100,000 hectares of forest are burned every year in Russia. Photo: Evgeny SOFRONEV / TASS
About 100,000 hectares of forest are burned every year in Russia. This is not just a myth, but the truth, and bitter. Imagine: a small private house in the village burned down. Suffering? Even some! What if a hectare of forest? Problem in the tenth degree and even more. After all, victims of fire are not only trees, but also all living beings – birds, animals, insects.
The lion’s share of fires – 90 percent – is due to the infamous human factor: negligence and boring attitude towards nature. However, it is realistic to reduce the number of fires and forest fires if you have time to put out the fire on the first day of ignition. This requires specialists and equipment. In 2022, on behalf of Russian President Vladimir Putin, the budget allocated for the protection of forests from fires increased by 2.4 times. These investments have a clear goal, described in the national project “Ecology”: to reduce the damage from the fire element by three times by 2024. However, no matter how productive the federal program, it will be difficult to implement if we ourselves do not change our attitude towards the forest wealth of the country. And we do not realize that our negligence or deliberate neglect of fire safety rules can cost the lives of not only animals, trees, but also people, deprive our children of fresh air and a healthy ecological environment.
Experts note that the solution to the problem of forest fires is largely hampered by myths that have taken root in the minds of many Russians. Why are they dangerous and is there any truth in them? Let’s try to figure it out together.
Myth 1. Burning grass is good: it kills pests and helps the forest.
Fire is a huge problem.
A photograph: Oleg RUKAVITSYN
Truth: when dry grass burns, buds and seeds of plants, beneficial microorganisms and small animals die.
– Fire is a huge problem. – HE SPEAKS Associate Dean of the Forest School of the Mytishchi Branch of the Moscow State Technical University. Bauman Vladimir Lipatkin. – We are losing a huge amount of wildlife, the bio-balance of the environment is being disturbed. This leads to a reduction in biodiversity. In the irreparable expulsion of animals from their usual habitats, even in the loss of certain types of populations. In addition, even after a small fire, nature will take many years to recover.
Grigory Kuksin, head of the forest fire program of the Volunteer Forest Firefighters Association He said grass fires are often the cause of both natural and forest fires.
– The wind quickly disperses the fire in open spaces, the forests are threatened, – explained Gregory. – Just like the holiday villages and the houses in villages and hamlets. The arson is different. This is burning grass on farmland, along a forest belt, on the roadside or a common grass burn on your site. At the same time, false traditions are so strong that people burn grass because “it was always done in the family. And why, for what? I do not know”.
Myth 2. The forest is set on fire to obtain timber harvesting rights at a low price.
The cost of harvesting burnt wood, taking into account the logistics, is not economically profitable. Photo: Alexander Ryumin / TASS
Truth: Natural disasters that have occurred in a forest plot do not affect the cost of renting it. The cost of harvesting burnt wood, taking into account the logistics, is not economically profitable.
It is hard to imagine that one desperately needs a burned forest. What to do then? Building a house? Make furniture? So the smell of burning will come from the wood for many years. For firewood – unprofitable. It is obvious that it is better to buy a body of solid poles than burners.
In addition, lumberjacks, even unscrupulous ones, are primarily interested in logging a healthy forest by subsequently selling it, not only at a higher price than the price of a forest damaged by fire, but to produce products with greater added value.
I once spoke on a train with the owner of a sawmill in Ob. I remember him saying that forest fires endanger the whole industry. Especially if logging sites are burned.
– If spring is valid, then it is almost always the person’s fault, – said my interlocutor. – Once upon a time there was such a case: we were expecting a forest from a specific location. The contract was signed, the money was transferred. They had to deliver the next day. But at night the drunken guard smoked and extinguished his cigarette butt on the ground. It seemed to him that he erased it well. And around the sawdust began to burn slowly. The wind picked up in the morning. That is, there is neither forest nor that trailer. The guard miraculously escaped. Then they judged him.
Why is this delusion dangerous? By blaming some mythical characters with mythical targets for the fires, we absolve ourselves of responsibility, we do not believe that we ourselves can prove to be the arsonists of the forest. But it’s not like that…
Myth 3. Forest fires are often done to hide illegal logging
Grounds that can be covered by fire are controlled by air by observer pilots.
A photograph: Ivan MAKEF
Truth: Fires are most often caused by careless handling of fires, including the burning of logging residues and the passage of fire through burning fields.
Honestly, until recently, I myself was a supporter of this myth, believing that in the spring black lumberjacks burn their illegal plots to hide the traces of illegal logging. I come from the Irkutsk region, where the problem of forest fires has always been relevant and this myth is popular with people. Because the easiest way to cover up forest theft is arson.
I believe that sometimes such methods of concealment can actually be used by forest thieves. But is not this a pointless game of hide and seek?
– Listen, there is no smoke without fire, – he explains to me Gregory Cuxin. – Smoke in any case will be perceived. Especially with the current means of monitoring the forest fund in times of fire.
Indeed, areas that can be covered by fire are controlled by air by observer pilots. In addition, hundreds of forestry drones have now been purchased, which also monitor the situation from the air. What black lumberjack wants to be noticed right away? After the fire is extinguished, an investigation will be launched into its causes. And it is not far from the field.
In addition, it is impossible to hide the traces of logging with fire. According to experts, the stems of cut trees almost never burn to the ground. Yes, and if you think about it, it is easier to cut down the forest and rinse immediately from this area until you catch it.
Myth 4. Where there was a forest fire, all the trees burned there.
Forests are burning, nature is suffering.
A photograph: Oleg ADAMOVICH
Truth: Some zealous environmentalists frighten Russians. Like, due to forest fires, the country may lose its taiga territories in the coming decades. No one denies the obvious – forests are burning, nature is suffering. But it is important to understand that the area covered by fire is not equal to the area of dead forests. A fire on the ground does not destroy the tall trees; in such a fire, the forest burns. Trees are mostly destroyed by fires, which occur much less often than ground fires. At the same time, however, there is no top fire without a base fire.
– The fire goes to the tops of the trees or from a sudden gust of wind, – HE SPEAKS paratrooper-firefighter Vasily Gavrilov.
According to experts, three quarters of the trees in the burnt area of the taiga remain virtually unharmed during a fire on the ground. But that, of course, is not a reason to consider forest fires “harmless”.
Myth 5. Forest fires are extinguished only by air
Without the interaction of air and land services, it is problematic to achieve a positive result in firefighting. Photo: Egor ALEEV / TASS
Truth: Fires are 100% likely to be extinguished only with the help of forest fire teams working on the ground. But without the interaction of air and land services, it is problematic to achieve a positive result in firefighting. The air force is connected to deliver people, special equipment, water tanks on the edge of a forest fire, it is also in its power to reduce the intensity of burning and extinguish the flame immediately.
There are several ways to fight forest fires:
– artificial rainfall. To do this, a sinking aircraft (currently Cyclone An-26 is used by the Avialesookhrana Federal Financial Institution) first seeks the necessary cloud over large fires. And after that, the observer pilots shoot garbage cartridges filled with a special composition of iodine silver, so that the cloud approaches the forest fire with maximum humidity. Before starting work, it is mandatory to analyze the state of forest fires and aerial information.
use of Mi-8 helicopters of various modifications and Mi-26. The MI-8-MTV helicopter can take up to five tons of water, the MI-26 – up to 15 tons. Modified Mi-8s are assembled in Kazan and Ulan-Ude. They are able to work in any climate conditions in temperatures from minus 50 to plus 50. These machines are equipped with additional tanks and can cover a distance of 1000 kilometers.
Nikolai Krivosheev, head of the Federal Financial Institution Avialesookhrana, notes that the modified MI-8 MTV-1 helicopters are capable of performing a wide range of tasks – delivering not only teams of paratroopers and firefighters, but also water cannons and loads of up to five loads of water and loads. tons at the point of fire.
By the way, on behalf of the President of Russia, to protect the natural territory of Baikal, the inaccessible and remote forest areas of Siberia and the Far East from fires, Avialesookhrana set up an interregional forest fire center. Its “air fleet” will include 6 new Mi-8 MTV-1 helicopters.
– to support the work of forest fire teams, in the presence of certain technical conditions, tanker aircraft are used: Il-76 (up to 40 tonnes of water), BE – 200 (up to 12 tonnes of water). The task of tanker aircraft in extinguishing forest fires is subject to the cycle “water supply – approach to fire – water evacuation – water supply”. And the shorter such a cycle, the higher the extinguishing efficiency.
With the help of such “heavy trucks”, forest firefighters successfully extinguish not only fires in forest areas, but also, together with ground services, defend villages, cities, cottages.
CAUTION! FIRE DISCOVERY IN A FIELD, NEAR A SETTLEMENT, PHONE: 112 FIRE DISCOVERY IN A FOREST, TEL: 8 800 100 94 00