Deputy Prime Minister Victoria Abramchenko held a meeting with the constituent entities of the Russian Federation to prepare for the fire season.
Through videoconference, the meeting participants summed up the results of the 2021 fire season and discussed measures to improve the efficiency of forest fire protection this year. The meeting was attended by the Minister of Natural Resources and Ecology Alexander Kozlov, governors of the constituent entities of the Russian Federation, representatives of the Ministry of Emergency Situations, the Ministry of Agriculture, Rosleskhoz, Roshydromet, Rosselkhoznadzor, Avialesookhrana and others.
Victoria Abramchenko stated that 2021 was much harder than 2020. She noted two key findings from the review of last year’s season. “Man is the main cause of landscape fires. Knowing this, we must take all necessary measures. Significantly increase liability for arson. Secondly, the key to success in the fight against landscape fire is its extinguishing in the first day. This means that the fire detection system must work faster and more efficiently,” the Deputy Prime Minister said.
She said that the President of the country had decided to increase by 2.4 times the annual volume of subventions from the federal budget for the protection of forests from fires from 2022 (from 6 billion to 14.2 billion rubles).
“Increased funding entails increased responsibility for results. And it needs to be legal. The President instructed the Government in March to determine targets for a radical reduction in forest fires for each region separately and for Russia as a whole. And the governors will be personally responsible for achieving these indicators. With an increase in funding from the federal budget by 2.4 times, we have the right to count on a halving of the area of forest fires,” said Victoria Abramchenko.
According to the Deputy Prime Minister, the Government has already taken a number of measures to remedy the situation with forest fires. In particular, it provides for the obligation of tenants of forest plots to put out forest fires. In addition, changes were made to the State Program for the Development of Agriculture, prohibiting the provision of subsidies to agricultural producers who violated fire safety requirements on agricultural land.
Victoria Abramchenko also announced a bill aimed at increasing the responsibility of citizens and officials for violating fire safety requirements and causing damage to forest plantations.
Within the framework of the national project “Ecology”, more than 43 thousand units of forest fire equipment and equipment were purchased at the expense of the federal budget. In the priority order, the most combustible regions are equipped. The provision of subjects with the necessary equipment is almost 93%. This year, another 7,000 units of forest fire equipment and machinery will be purchased.
According to the Minister of Natural Resources and Ecology Alexander Kozlov, federal funds for extinguishing fires have been brought to all regions. Now employees of forest fire services are being hired, uniforms are being purchased, technical specifications for aviation services are being formed. “The heads of all regions should pay special attention to the inadmissibility of reducing regional funding for forest fire protection in connection with the allocation of additional funds from the federal budget, work to reduce forest fire control zones, taking into account the analytical assessment of the region’s flammability, develop consolidated plans for extinguishing forest fires not with formal point of view, but taking into account the real applicability in the case, providing for the mandatory participation of tenants in extinguishing forest fires when compiling them. I note that we have already agreed to check the master plans together with the prosecutor’s office, and as a result, a debriefing will definitely be carried out, ”said Alexander Kozlov.
He noted that both abnormal weather events and system failures affect the forest fire situation. “We need to change the approach to organizing work to extinguish forest fires. The analysis carried out showed a legal vacuum in the area of responsibility of authorities and departments in extinguishing forest and landscape fires. There is also a lack of coordination of actions during operational mobilization. We have already prepared updated rules for extinguishing forest fires and rules for introducing emergency situations in forests. A draft law has been developed according to which the forces of the federal reserve of the parachute fire service “Avialesookhrana” can be used without waiting for the introduction of an emergency regime in the territory. Also, in order to promptly respond to forest fires in specially protected natural areas of federal significance, we made a decision to extinguish the fire by regional forest fire services in a first-priority, priority order. Mutual settlements for the work performed will be carried out after the fact, after the end of the extinguishing,” said the head of the Ministry of Natural Resources.
According to Roshydromet, in March, taking into account the analysis of weather conditions on the territory of the Russian Federation, there are no prerequisites for the formation of high and extreme hazard classes. At the same time, taking into account the experience of previous years, the occurrence of fires caused by the anthropogenic (human) factor is possible in the southern regions of Transbaikalia, Tyva, Khabarovsk and Primorsky Territories.
In April, the level of increased fire danger in certain periods is possible in the south of the Southern Federal District, the south of the Altai Territory, in the Tyva Republic, in the south of the Republic of Buryatia, the Trans-Baikal Territory, in the Amur Region, the Jewish Autonomous Region and Primorsky Territory.
In May, in recent years, there has been a tendency to increase the frequency of fire hazards of high and extreme classes in the south of the Far East and Siberia, as well as in the Novgorod, Arkhangelsk regions, in the republics of Komi, Kalmykia, in the Astrakhan region, Voronezh, Tambov, Volgograd, Rostov regions, in the eastern regions of the North Caucasian Federal District, in the south of the Republic of Crimea, in the Penza, Ulyanovsk, Saratov, Orenburg regions.
EDITOR’S NOTE: This article is a translation. Apologies should the grammar and or sentence structure not be perfect.