"Ill Equipped" Russia Battling Deadly Wildfires

Summary from FT.com and En.rian.ru

*35 people have been killed

*More than 2,170 people fled their homes

*More than 1,000 homes destroyed

*Russian president, ordered the armed forces to help douse the fires on Friday, admitting that Russia was technically ill-equipped to combat the escalating crisis

*one-fifth of the country’s grain crop has been destroyed

*Compensation for each death $33,000

*Compensation for each home destroyed $100,000

*Acreage estimates are spotty, anywhere between 200,000 and 2,000,000,000

Finally in one of the weakest attempts at an excuse ever uttered by a head of state Medvedev blamed global warming for the crisis and called for “increased international efforts to prevent climate change”. Coincidently, shortly after that statement was made Putin took over implementation of the overall fire plan and response.

Sify.com confirms 35 dead including 2 firefighters.

Satellite Images from Rapidfire/NASA

Top image Western Russia, Bottom image Siberia

4 Comments

  • FirefighterBlog says:

    Not a bad idea. I like the concept.

  • Theo E. says:

    I once have had the idea to “precision bomb” the area around a starting fire with very thin impreganted sheets of amylose, that open up and drag in the air when released from an airplane in such a way that they hit the right trajectory along a forrest. These sheets would cover a certain forest aisle and by this they would severly moderate the expansion and spread of the fires making it far more simple to control and extinguish the fires.

    This would happen due to two reasons. First of all the impregnated material would inhibit the ignition of further trees and secondly and far more importantly the sheets would create an environment that makes it far more difficult for fresh oxygen to rush into the frontline of the fires from below the trees.

    The amylose sheets have to be quite thin in order to cover a huge area with only one flight and of course they have to be biodegradable and very simply to be cut into pieces by physical force.

    Unfortunately i do not know how big these sheets have to be in order to be effective against the fire while still leaving it possible for firefighters to move into the burning area that has to be extinguished.

    First of all, there have to be made some computer simulations to conduct a proof of concept and later on there have to be made some prototypes of these sheets that after being released, open up in the air after some time (depending on the wind speed) and fall in a pinpoint fashion onto their target only due to their orientation in the air (i know there are a lot of technical questions to be solved).

    but by this technology it would far more simple to control these fires – in the end it also would be very cheap compared to the conventional methods…

    I wonder why nobody came up with such an idea yet. Again and again i think about how many lifes can be saved by such an invention….

  • FirefighterBlog says:

    I agree Kate. Sad. Today I read entire villages have been burned. For a people that have little to begin with this is especially sad. If it's true the Russian government will compensate them then that is some consolation.
    Firefighters there have a tough go because wildland fire science has not caught up with them. Seems an opportunity for some sort exchange program should be in order.

  • bigsurkate says:

    I am so sorry to read about this travesty for the Russian people. Those satellite photos tell the story well. Thanks for bringing this to our attention, Mike.

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