Friday, 30 September 2016

The out-of-control wildfires in Siberia

Disingenuous, liberal sources like Robertscribbler take the official American russophobic source Radio Free Europe as a source creating the impression that there is no voice speaking out about the out-of-control wildfires in Siberia from within Russia.

That may well be almost true but not quite. 

Siberian Times has been giving quite a lot of space to this as well as to the methane bomb.

Disturbing new pictures show the raging Siberian wildfires that (officially) do not exist 

Pro-Kremlin eco-groups echo Greenpeace concerns by highlighting burning of forests which do not appear in government reports.

By The Siberian Times reporter
27 September 2016

'I would like to see those estimates, which would have shown that the costs of firefighting are actually higher than the damage from the fires.' Picture: Nikita Pyatkov/IRK.ru
For weeks there have been reports of major fires burning in remote districts but unregistered by the authorities. Hard evidence was lacking but now it has been produced by two pro-Kremlin groups which made a joint mission to check out the claims. 
These pictures show the fires in Irkutsk region, with one claim that locals have been subjected to smoke fumes for as long as six months from blazes that officially were not burning.
Latest satellite images confirm the fires, as the image here shows.  
Wildfires in Irkutsk region

Wildfires in Irkutsk region
'From the air we see that the taiga is burning over an area that is measured in hundreds, thousands of hectares.' Pictures: Nikita Pyatkov/IRK.ru
Alexander Yakubovsky, head of the local All-Russian People's Front, set up by President Vladimir Putin, said: 'We are now in Ust-Kut. Smoke is very strong, visibility is no more than 300 metres.
'From the air we see that the taiga is burning over an area that is measured in hundreds, thousands of hectares. And in official reports the picture is quite different. The data is clearly underestimated. We are trying to film everything we see on camera.' 
In a evocative despatch on 22 September, he wrote: 'This is called the edge of the fire ... no end of it in sight ... we have examined Kirensky, Katangsky and Ust-Kutsky districts, forests are burning, and we have not seen any piece of equipment, not a single person who would put out the fire.'
Wildfires in Irkutsk region

Wildfires in Irkutsk region
Latest satellite images confirm the fires. Pictures: fires.ru, Greenpeace
His group 'recorded more than two dozens foci' of the wildfires. 'Air traffic and navigation on the Lena Rover is intermittent, sometimes visibility is very low, the last flights were banned today.'
The head of Living Forest group, Nikolai Nikolaev, claimed the Irkutsk authorities have incorrectly interpreted the order of the Ministry of Natural Resources, which allows the regional commission for emergency situations and fire safety to make decisions about not extinguishing fires.
Living Forest is a group organised by United Russia, which comfortably won this month's parliamentary elections in Russia. 
Wildfires in Irkutsk region

Wildfires in Irkutsk region

Wildfires in Irkutsk region
These pictures show the fires in Irkutsk region, with one claim that locals have been subjected to smoke fumes for as long as six months from blazes that officially were not burning. Picture: Nikita Pyatkov/IRK.ru
'There are no words in the order that the authorities are allowed not to take into account the more difficult fires,' he said. Nor should this be used as a reason 'not to inform the public' about large-scale fires. 
'The document states that decisions on not extinguishing the fires can be taken if there are no threats to settlements or economic facilities, and in the case when the costs of putting out the fires are higher than the possible harm from them,' he said.
'I would like to see those estimates, which would have shown that the costs of firefighting are actually higher than the damage from the fires. It is very difficult to explain to residents of Ust-Kut, who have filled their lungs with carbon dioxide for almost six months, that the authorities failed to extinguish the fires because they do not see any threat to the town.'
Wildfires in Irkutsk region

Wildfires in Irkutsk region
After the claims of pro-Putin activists, the head of the Emergency Ministry Vladimir Puchkov ordered the reinforcement of firefighters in Eastern Siberia. Pictures: Nikita Pyatkov/IRK.ru

Additionally, Yakubobsky reported the annual 'northern delivery' of vital supplies to remote communities usually by river - notably on the Lena and Angara - has been disrupted by thick smoke from the fires.
Three days ago, officials reported that rains had extinguished many wildfires in the vicinity of Bratsk and Ust-Kut - reported on by The Siberian Times last week - but after the claims of pro-Putin activists, the head of the Emergency Ministry Vladimir Puchkov ordered the reinforcement of firefighters in Eastern Siberia. 
He ordered: 'Make them work. It is necessary to take additional measures to protect settlements, social facilities, infrastructure, (and) power lines. Some heads of districts have relaxed, as they have a good record, but nature does not like such attitude. You need to calculate the risks.'





People in Bratsk petition Kremlin over pollution from forest fires


23 September 2016
Residents complain of 'severe carbon monoxide poisoning' as satellite images show blanket of smoke across eastern Siberia.

Oil pipes threatened by forest fires amid disputes over the scale of destruction


20 September 2016
Greenpeace claims up to 300 times more territory in Siberia is ablaze than officially acknowledged.

Social media pictures show the worrying impact of forest fires in remote areas. Picture: Anna Trapeznikova
Officials on Tuesday acknowledged a 20% rise in forest fires in the past 24 hours but campaigning group Greenpeace alleged that state agencies are hugely underestimating the scope of the problem.
It was hard to independently verify the contradictory claims but a fire threat to the Eastern Siberia - Pacific Ocean (ESPO) pipeline led Irkutsk Oil Company to suspend supplies of oil, said the  official representative of Transneft, Igor Demin.
'The situation with the fires in Irkutsk region and the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia) remains difficult,' he said. 'There are six wildfires less than in five kilometres from the ESPO facilities. Fires were as close as 300 metres from key pipeline facilities, he said. 
Social media pictures show the worrying impact of forest fires in remote areas. 
Vanavara

Smoke in Vanavara

Smoke in Vanavara Smoke in Vanavara
Residents of the Evenk settlement of Vanavara - 730 kilometres north-east of Krasnoyarsk - complained about the smoke, and breathing problems. Pictures: The Siberian Times, Anna Trapeznikova

Alexey Yaroshenko, head of forest department of Greenpeace Russia, warned: 'The scale of the wildfires in Eastern Siberia can be compared with the catastrophe of 2010 in European Russia and the Urals. 
'Our estimates are approximate. Perhaps more than 1.7 million hectares are burning, since some of the largest fires are completely hidden under strong smoke.
'For the second half of September, such a catastrophe in Siberia is unprecedented. It is associated not only with the inefficiency of the system of protection of forests from fires, but also with the climate change.'
Greenpeace highlighted satellite images to back their claims. 
The group claimed that a summary published by Avialesokhrana - Russia's Aerial Forest Protection Service - on 18 September, shows the wildfires covering an area 300 times smaller than estimated by Greenpeace. 

Map

Wildfires in Irkutsk region

Wildfires in Irkutsk region
'Our estimates are approximate. Perhaps more than 1.7 million hectares are burning, since some of the largest fires are completely hidden under strong smoke. Pictures: fires.ru, Greenpeace Russia

Grigory Kuksin, head of Greenpeace Russia's firefighting programme, said:'Unfortunately, such areas were not completely extinguished before the autumn rains. 
'It was necessary to extinguish the fires at an early stage, when they were relatively small. Now you can just save the settlements and protected areas from the fire.'
The latest official bulletin from the agency highlighted 59 forest fires on Russian territory, covering an area of 3,453 hectares. The three worst-hit regions were all in Siberia. 
A total of 1,900 hectares were said to be ablaze in the Sakha Republic, while fires in Irktusk region, close to Lake Baikal, have also 'surged', according to TASS. Some 42 hectares was on fire in the Pribaikalsky National Park. Around 412 hectares remained ablaze in Buryatia Republic. 
Social media postings highlighted the problems posed by forest fires. Residents of the Evenk settlement of Vanavara - 730 kilometres north-east of Krasnoyarsk - complained about the smoke, and breathing problems.
Wildfires in Krasnoyarsk region

Wildfires in Krasnoyarsk region
'Smoke is all around, we can not see even each other. The school is closed, the children did not go to classes. Head aches, throat discomfort, only water helps.' Pictures: Vesti. Krasnoyarsk

Anna Trapeznikova posted: 'The school is closed, locals are afraid to go out - the visibility is about 100-150 metres. Two flights are already cancelled - the runway is not visible. 
'Headaches, red eyes, nose and throat aching. It is not possible to get out the settlement.' Locals are advised in megaphone messages not to go out, to abstain from alcohol. 'Everyone waits for rain,' she said. 
Another local resident said: 'Smoke is all around, we can not see even each other. The school is closed, the children did not go to classes. Head aches, throat discomfort, only water helps. Window shutters are closed, but the smoke is in the house.'
Officially, three fires are registered in the region. 

No comments:

Post a Comment