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A digital tool from WWF helps save the forests of Primorye from fires

24 august 2022
An interactive map of the long-term forest fire situation in Primorye, created by the Primorsky Province Ministry of Forestry and Fauna Protection together with WWF has demonstrated its effectiveness as a practical tool for fighting wild fires in the region.

According to experts, up to 80% of the damage from forest fires occurs due to the transfer of fires from the agricultural lands, settlement lands and others. Earlier, the Ministry, together WWF, analyzed long-term data on the burning of the territory. Using satellite images, the boundaries of all forest and landscape fires that occurred in Primorye in 2010-2021 were digitized and analyzed. The result of this work was an interactive map, which was presented in November 2021.

“Based on the analysis, the boundaries of territories with a high (80-100%) risk of fires were established. During the spring fire-hazard season of 2022, we verified the obtained data. It became clear that we can use these data in practice,” said Konstantin Stepanov, the Primorsky Province Minister of Forestry and Fauna Protection.

He added that the analysis made it possible to establish not only the boundaries of fires, but also the estimated time of their occurrence.

Based on the data received, the Ministry of Forestry, together with the Ministry of Agriculture, began to work with tenants of farm land, which annually allow landscape fires in their leased areas. As part of this work, it is planned to conclude agreements on the fire-prevention arrangement of the leased land plots in high forest fires risk zones, as well as to involve land users and tenants of forest plots in protecting these territories and extinguishing fires during a fire hazard period.

“Forest and natural fires are one of the most serious threats to the unique ecosystems of the southern Far East. Therefore, it is extremely important not only to increase the efficiency of their extinguishing, but also to improve the mechanisms for their prevention. In this regard, our joint work with the Ministry of Forestry and Fauna Protection on the analysis of forest fires in the region and the resulting digital tool is an important step towards increasing the efficiency of preventive work and improving fire-fighting planning. Now we are working on similar projects for other regions of the southern Far East, which, we hope, will subsequently be adopted by the forest ministries of these regions and will really help to fulfill the instructions of the President of the Russian Federation to halve the area of ​​​​forest fires,” commented Peter Osipov, head of WWF Russia Amur branch.

According to the Primorsky Province Ministry of Forestry and Fauna Protection, the first half of 2022 was characterized by a much higher fire pressure compared to 2021 and to the average long-term observations. During the spring fire hazard period, coastal forest firefighters extinguished 476 forest and 314 landscape fires. Despite the significant fire pressure, more than 94% of forest fires were extinguished in less than 24 hours from the moment of discovery. On average in Russia, the efficiency of extinguishing fires according to the results of half a year was only 81%.

An interactive map of the Primorsky Province is available on the website of the Primorsky Province Ministry of Forestry and Fauna Protection.

For additional information please contact
Director of WWF-Russia Amur branch