April 13, 2024

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In Russia, large forest fires and few ways to fight them, especially because of the war in Ukraine

In Russia, large forest fires and few ways to fight them, especially because of the war in Ukraine

The big forest fire season started earlier than usual in Russia, especially in the Urals. Experts fear that the summer of 2023 will be disastrous for the country, where the government’s resources are mainly directed towards the war in Ukraine.

Russia has turned entirely to the West and to war in Ukraine. But to the east, behind him, the forest burns. More than 100,000 hectares of vegetation have been burned this spring, in the Sverdlovsk region, in the Urals around Yekaterinburg. Sometimes affecting residential areas, these fires caused many deaths.

Since early June, other fires have been reported further east, in Siberia, in Altai, as a result of seasonal heat and water shortages. “We already know the season is going to be worse than usual.” Grigory Kukshin, founder of the Russian NGO Forest Fire Prevention Center, predicted. Because “The weather forecast is bad”

Fires sometimes have unexpected consequences

He further explains that “The situation is dire as many bushfires are yet to be extinguished” It won’t exist “may not be able to”, He is afraid. Swamp fires, also known as “zombie fires,” sometimes survive the winter under snow and come back to life in the summer. They could help make 2023 a season comparable to 2021, the worst the country has ever seen.

This year, “After this forest fire in Central Yakutsk, floods occurred in autumn”Nikita Tananev, a researcher at the Permafrost Institute in Yakutsk, Siberia, recalls.. “Because during a forest fire, ash remains, so water does not penetrate the ground, it remains on the surface. Our soil is hydrophobic. This causes flooding”, He explains.

“Almost half of Russian forests are not protected from fire, because there is no money for it.”

Gregory Cooksin


According to Grogory Kouksine, the means of fighting these fires are very few and many fires are not treated. “I would say that we still have the same shortage of personnel, money and firefighting equipment. This was already the case in previous years, but many firefighting equipment manufacturers left Russia. And we end up with insufficient quality equipment.”

Due to the war in Ukraine, the federal government, which is facing a budget deficit for the first time in many years, has no plans to strengthen the fighting mechanisms, leaving the regions alone to face this enormous fire.

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