The threat of smoke

Why burning wood

For any major fire needs three basic conditions:

  • combustible material,

  • suitable weather

  • the source of the fire.

The main combustible materials in the landscape is dry grass, dead wood and peat. For a thin and light layer fuel the fire spread with great speed, and heavy smoldering materials gives long burning and can be restored after a rain.

Suitable weather for a fire is primarily long-lasting dry period ensures drying of the material. The air temperature in itself directly does not cause fires. “On my palm temperature is +35, but grass in it does not light up. Temperature +45 is colder than the working battery in your home. In nature, even in very hot weather, not the temperature, which can lead to spontaneous ignition of some combustible material,” says Grigory Kuksin, fire, head fire Department of Greenpeace.

The following important weather factor is wind, which contributes to the spread of fire. Strong winds can fan the flames so quickly that even with a small amount of fuel a fire can take the new square. “Last year in Transbaikalia during the day, 14 villages suffered from the fire — said Kuksin. — Killed thousands of head of cattle, a lot of people burned, two people died from burns. The fire spread through the stubble, in the midst of the grass, in pastures, where almost did not have combustible materials. Wind speeds over 20 m/s fanned the fire with such force that it was almost impossible to stop.”

In addition to suitable conditions for fire you need a source of fire. He can have both natural and anthropogenic origin.

Natural cause of fire are usually thunderstorms. Due to global climate changes the risk of the spread of fires is growing, recognized climatologist Alexander Chernokulsky: many areas become drier, changing the precipitation regime.

But thunderstorms are a natural cause of fires, are rarely dry, specifies the scientist. So in a fire situation, he concluded, the cause of the fire is still often the person becomes.

But to establish the cause of the fire, we can only retroactively, after it put out. It is difficult and often unclear, therefore, the strict meter of forest fires are human-caused no. Says Andrey Sirin, Director of the Institute of forest sciencen Academy of Sciences, reliably establish the cause of the fire is possible only for 10% of fires. In each case, when the accused fire not lightning, it is necessary a special investigation, but even the fire to find it is not always possible.

“Natural fires (forest, steppe, peat) were always, says Sirin. — Cause 90% of fires, and in some regions and more people. Once formed a suitable fire conditions, thunderstorms can not be expected, included the human factor. Lightning just don’t have time to work”.

The difficulty of obtaining accurate data on the causes of fires associated with the shortcomings of the research methods, the spatial resolution of the original data as well as banal remoteness of many regions and time delay in the observations. The cause of the fire usually determined indirectly: according to the thunderstorm activity and the proximity of a person to the fire. In the study of Greenpeace on fires 2018 in four regions of analyzed the mutual arrangement of the seats of fires and anthropogenic objects. For the fire was taken thermococci (thermal abnormality), that is before the others appeared on satellite images within the burnt area. The results showed that almost all fires in this area occurred close to settlements, roads and other infrastructure.

Why set fire to

Among the anthropogenic causes of fires, the main is Pala dry herbs, which is prohibited by law. Only exceptions are the burning stubble of rice straw and managed preventive burning where large accumulations of combustible material.

The opinions of experts on temporary grass apart. On the one hand, burning, like fire, is dangerous for insects, rodents and birds, lead to a General decrease in biodiversity and impoverishment of ecosystems, and often become dangerous to humans. Without control, they often become a full-fledged forest fires, resulting in impoverished species composition and changing structure of the forest as a whole.

On the other hand, there is the view about the need for preventive burning of combustible material as a preventive measure.

“The most fire-prone abandoned land — agricultural land with dry grass, reclaimed and unused peatlands are left without recultivation field of milling peat extraction. Without a master such lands is a constant source of fire danger. They must either be used, whether to be rehabilitated, including restoration of natural ecosystems. For example, by rehydrating the fire of peatlands for restoration of wetlands, says Sirin. — In Finland, and in the Union of Belarus such a pitch with the fires there. But the climatic conditions differ little from the North-West or center of European. So Pala need — as agricultural activities for the improvement of hayfields and pastures, to eliminate combustible material and reduce the risk of fires. But of course, they must be managed. They should observe competent professionals. If it is not done according to the rules, you can get serious consequences. For example, the Chernobyl fires this year arose from the burning”.

Practice the burning of herbs has led to many landscapes — for example, in the Baikal region and Primorye — was transformed by the fires. “Is the forest that supports wet conditions, we’ve got a huge area of Mareuil, swampy woodland, which the fire runs with great speed in windy weather. And every year we more and more increase the fire hazard due to crazy poker. Yes, this is a pyrogenic community, but they are easier to burn. Plants will recover there, and here at home, [people] are not” — said Kuksin. The result is a vicious circle: the more we burn, the more you want to burn, the more of the fire conditions around.

“I have a very simple point of view, it coincides with then legislation, — he continues. — In it is impossible to set fire to the grass, categorically, it is illegal, punishable and dangerous. In addition to burning rice straw, an exception for arson, there is only one preventive burning. The rules of these poker were installed only last fall. While they are not executed and the regions of the wiring themselves, as necessary. For example, in the Khabarovsk region were allocated 15 roubles for one hectare. We is the price of a box of matches. Is it possible carefully under control to hold it burning?”

Who and how this is followed

The lands of the forest Fund in our country is the responsibility of the forest authorities. The whole situation monitors the FFA, in regions of their organs: for example, in the Moscow region is the forestry Committee of the Moscow region. For settlements and especially important objects meets MOE. For protected areas (national parks, nature reserves and other similar objects)— the Ministry of natural resources and the management of themselves, of nature reserves and national parks.

Lands that do not fall into these categories, are in the care of the regional authorities.

In addition, there are the so-called control zones are areas where natural fires can not be extinguished, if the costs of suppression exceed the damage that fire can cause. They have many constituent entities of then Federation, they are 49 per cent of the forests. Monitor fires here, it’s just from outer space, and the decision to extinguish accept the regional authorities.

The existence of zones of control is related to the priorities in fighting. “First we need to eliminate the largest risks, and then to move on, explains Sirin. — Therefore, the division of the whole territory of the security zone and the control zone is absolutely correct. Although the implementation of this concept requires major revision”.

In there are ground-based, aircraft and satellite monitoring of fires and fire hazard. Ground and aviation service detection and extinguishing of fires in populated areas, on lands of the forest Fund within protected areas. Fully the territory of the country are monitored only from space.

Ground monitoring of fires is conducted with the Supervisory masts — it can be as special rigs and non-core facilities (e.g. cell towers). On the mast is installed a camera that operates automatically and captures the smoke from a fire. The distance to the fire in the video to determine not always possible, but it is calculated based on the intersection of azimuthal directions from several observation points.

The disadvantages of this type of monitoring is associated primarily with the density of observation points. If in densely populated regions, it is high, in remote areas of the masts could not be at all. In addition, surveillance is not always possible to obtain the desired rapid response precision. The camera does not work in the conditions of strong smoke, can give large errors in shooting against the sun’s rays.

In addition to automation, watching the forest and the people — land patrols. They may be on foot, horse or car. Each group is equipped with a set of rapid response — a small fire is extinguished immediately. Frequency of patrols depends on the class of fire danger for each area is determined by the so-called “loop technique” and depends on temperature and humidity. The higher the class, the more frequently occurs on patrol. Obviously, this method of monitoring of fires depends on the presence of people and roads. In forest areas of self-patrolling is usually undertaken by foresters.

From the air, the fire monitoring service of Avialesohrana. The frequency of flights also depends on the class of fire danger in a given period of time. Patrolling is done by aircraft, sometimes by helicopter, sometimes landing directly with groups of firefighters on Board.

A big problem any patrol that the fire danger class is determined for the entire region, and the atmosphere inside it can vary greatly. “For example, was the situation when burning Ladoga skerries, but nobody saw and did not send a patrol, because for the whole of Karelia has determined high humidity and low risk of fires,” says Kuksin.

Space monitoring of fires by remote sensing (RS) occurs in two ways.

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