According to the regional Ministry of Emergency Situations, 75 fires have been discovered in the Vladimir region since the beginning of the fire-hazardous season. In 37 cases they were caused by careless handling of fire, in two cases – lightning strike, in two others – overlapping of electric wires, said the deputy head of the regional department Yuri Arbuzov.
The weather in the hot summer of 2021 pretty closely replicates the climatic conditions of 2010, when by mid-July in the Vladimir region were already large-scale fires, and because of the burning peat bogs in the streets was thick smog. Now the weather conditions are the same – high temperatures, little precipitation – but there are no major fires.
The graph shows the maximum daily temperature in Vladimir in June and the first half of July for the last 17 years:
Over the past ten years, forest fires have been recognized by satellites, video cameras have been placed on the towers, and images from them are analyzed by artificial intelligence. This makes it possible to track emergencies much faster.
“As of today, 177 thermal spots have been detected by satellite. Naturally, operative groups go to these thermal spots and see what is happening there. Either the burning is confirmed or not. Sixty cases have been confirmed as dry grass burning. If there are reports from foresters, the task force also works. If there are fires, timely information plays a big role,” said Yuri Arbuzov.
However, timely detection alone is not enough if there is no patrolling and rapid response to outbreaks. The Vladimir region has been lucky with the lack of wind so far. If a grass-roots fire were to spread upwards and the fire was picked up by the wind, even with timely detection and response, the situation could have turned into serious difficulties. This year, all of the fires detected were grassroots fires.
“What matters is what’s burning. If forest litter is burning, the rate of fire spread there is 1 to 3 meters per second. The height is 1.5 to 2 meters across the trunks. The most difficult is the top fire. In windless weather its speed is 3 – 4 km/h, and in windy weather – up to 30 km/h. The complexity of extinguishing such fires is much higher. Our weather is windless, all fires were low-lying. If the fire goes up, in these weather conditions it will be a very difficult situation. The fire will spread by the time the firefighting equipment arrives. In 2010, when there were fires in Melenki district, they were just uphill fires. Because of that, it spread over such a huge area.
The Ministry of Emergency Situations reminds that a special fire protection regime is in force in the region since June 18, which prohibits any kind of making fire in the open air, including cooking. Citizens are subject to serious fines for barbecues and grills. In today’s conditions, such careless behavior can result in the loss of hundreds of hectares of forest in flames.
In a number of regions of Russia, the situation with forest fires is not as favorable. The situation is especially bad in Yakutia and Karelia. In Karelia as of July 19, 4.3 thousand hectares of forests were burning at 37 locations. In Yakutia, there are 187 fires and the area of the fires exceeds 100 thousand hectares. Fires can be seen from space and over 50 settlements of the region are smoky. In Yakutsk, the airport operation has been suspended due to smog.