In recent days, the fires have spread to 6,300 hectares. The biggest fire hit the province of Enisej. Greenpeace Russia: The situation could get worse. Russian expert: non-existent prevention throughout the country. In 2019, 9 million hectares of forest went up in smoke.
Moscow (AsiaNews) – The first week of June was hot all over Siberia, also due to the excessive rise in temperatures, a phenomenon of climate change. In the Krasnoyarsk region (Central Siberia), in recent days, forest fires have increased 23 times compared to the previous week, covering 6,300 hectares. On June 6, a fire devastated 10,000 hectares of forest in more than 10 Siberian regions.
The largest fire, over 5,000 hectares, was detected 13 km from the village of Kolmogorovo. It is located in the province of Enisei, the great river that crosses the Asian territory of the Russian Federation for 3,500 km. 60 people live in the small town; they were not evacuated, but entrusted to the emergency measures of Civil Protection. A total of 26 forests are burning, according to media estimates.
Deputy head of the forest administration department, Jurij Ivanko, explained that the rapid spread of fires began in the Enisej region: “To date, 51 people are working in this territory, covering an area of 6,000 hectares. , but we are transferring other personnel”. He specifies that at the beginning the fire was not very intense: “But the rapid deterioration of weather conditions over the weekend complicated the situation, in particular due to the violent winds”. the land where Siberian silkworm crops have grown for some years has now gone up in smoke.
Residents of Kolmogorovo released videos of the blaze, with the very tall flames approaching the village, where there is only a shop, a primary school and a service station for diesel engines.
Locals say, “The only source of water we can draw to put out the fire is the Aenisei River; we collect the water with buckets”. If the fire gets too close to the village, all residents would be evacuated with a 100-seater river boat, but let’s hope the wind direction changes.
The worst is expected in the Tomsk region. The Irkutsk region, near Lake Baikal, is being carefully monitored. The director of the firefighting section of Greenpeace Russia, Grigorij Kuksin, pointed out that “the situation is rather abnormal, having already passed the dry spring phase of the post-thaw period, when a few small fires usually occur; the worst moment should start at the end of June, to reach the maximum danger in mid-July”.
An expert from the ecology department of the Krasnoyarsk region, Natalia Podoljak, complains that “professional fire prevention is almost non-existent here, not only in remote areas, but throughout Russia. Firefighters cannot get anywhere on time”.
According to her, preventive works of selective deforestation would be necessary, “which require colossal financing and a long series of agreements and permits, to be concluded before the fire season”.
According to data from the Rosleskhoz Forestry Administration, one of the worst years was 2019, when almost nine million hectares of forest went up in smoke in Siberia, with economic damage of 15 billion rubles (about 170 millions of euros). The increase in fires has been a constant phenomenon over the past 20 years throughout Siberia to the Urals, often reaching even the European area of Oltrevolga. Over the years, hundreds of thousands of Russian citizens have signed various petitions for the proper conservation of native woods.