Burning Siberia: causes and culprits

Burning Siberia: causes and culprits

Forest fires in Siberia, which began in July of 2019 in remote areas of the Krasnoyarsk Territory, Irkutsk Region, Buryatia, Transbaikalia and Yakutia, still continue with varying degrees of intensity. Even after situation calmed down a little and this topic was no longer a point of discussion, problems still remain.

Head of the State Duma Committee on Ecology and Environmental Protection Vladimir Burmatov believes that people were responsible for the forest fires: “These people have specific surnames, first names and posts. Key problem was incompetence of a number of regional leaders, who didn't timely purchased fire fighting equipment, despite the fact that all necessary money was allocated. This hindered timely preventive work and preparations for “burning season.” There were no difficulties like that in regions that made necessary preparations."

Burmatov is also dissatisfied with the work of the Federal Forestry Agency: “We observe manipulation of statistics. They told us there's nothing to worry about, there are less fires compared to last year. There were also some regional leaders who said that there's no need to put fires down, that it’s not economically feasible. We're on the verge of ratification of the Paris Climate Agreement, and every tree will count. If we're "green lungs" of our planet, and we have to pay less than the rest for greenhouse gas emissions, we cannot say that putting out forest fires is not economically feasible."

Vladimir Burmatov stressed that fires broke out because of people and officials: “Etymology of many forest fires suggests that those who cut trees without necessary permission are to blame. They either hide traces of their illegal activities or set fires off. This is no speculation, there are specific criminal cases that authorities already report about."

This version is supported by the fact that “forest caught fire in several places at once, or forests that had just been extinguished caught fire, or that law enforcement officers found wood that was cut down in places of fires, as if someone had intentionally set fire to it. We requested data from the Ministry of Emergency Situations, and we were told that there were no dry thunderstorms in these places, despite the fact that the Federal Forestry Agency called dry thunderstorms the main cause of fires."

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