In a “hot spot”. How forest firefighters fight the fire element

“Argumenty i Fakty” Weekly No. 31. Feeling of inevitable food 03/08/2022 Story National projects

According to the data of the regional forestry dispatch services, as of the end of July 2022, the forest fire service and involved employees extinguished more than 8.5 thousand forest fires in 72 regions of Russia, including 6839 fires in the first day .

Help increased

Thanks to increased funding, the number of flight hours for extinguishing fires has been increased from 30 thousand to 52 thousand, the number of paratroopers-firefighters and paratroopers-firefighters has increased from 4.1 thousand to 5.3 thousand people.

In addition, in 2022, a new division of the FBU “Avialesookhrana” began work. — interregional forest fire center “North” with its own aircraft. It is designed to protect against fires and extinguish hard-to-reach areas of reserves and national parks of federal significance as part of the Baikal natural territory, other territories of Siberia, and the Far East. Also in the regions of the Siberian and Far Eastern districts (Krasnoyarsk Territory, Irkutsk Region, Buryatia) 4 new air departments of the Avialesookhrana parachute fire service were created. and the staff of the aviation department in the Trans-Baikal Territory was increased. All this made it possible to more quickly detect and extinguish emerging foci.

Forest Special Forces

“3 minutes eagle and 3 days draft horse” — this is what paratroopers from the Avialesookhrana fire department say about their work. It is no coincidence that paratroopers-firefighters and paratroopers-firefighters are called “forest special forces”. These are specialists who are able to extinguish hard-to-reach forest fires in the most difficult conditions.

Forest special forces in “hot spots” delivered with the help of a descender from helicopters, paratroopers-firefighters — with a parachute from aircraft. After landing, the fight against the fire element is carried out only with hand tools — shovels, axes, hoes for laying mineralized strips, knapsack forest fire extinguishers, chainsaws for clearing forest rubble, sawing burning trees and extinguishing fires. You have to walk miles with equipment. They live in tents in the wild taiga, without cellular communication for more than a month or two.

“There are no roads in the impenetrable taiga, we tread paths through the forest ourselves, extinguishing is possible only manually, because equipment cannot drive to the fire site. Often there are difficulties due to the lack of water sources near the fire to fill the knapsack forest fire extinguisher, — tells instructor of the airborne fire group of the FBU “Avialesookhrana” Nikolay Vedernikov. During the day of work, a paratrooper carries tens of liters of water over rough terrain, depending on the distance of the water source (stream, river, swamp) from the edge of the fire.

A group of 5–6 people — this is the impact force to stop the fire. In one light day, such a group, with the help of shovels and hoe-axes, lays a mineralized strip with a length of 500 m to 2 km, depending on the conditions and nature of the terrain.

Forest special forces are involved to assist the regions in the elimination of emergencies in connection with forest fires at the request of the region and the decision of the federal authorities. Now, for the second month now, forest firefighters have been working without a break, constantly cutting off millions of hectares of the endless Yakut taiga from fire.

According to the Federal Forestry Agency, most fires occur due to the human factor. “In the forests, systematic patrolling of the lands of the forest fund is carried out. In the course of control and supervision activities in 2022, 4.9 thousand violations of fire safety rules were identified, administrative fines were issued in the amount of 72.2 million rubles, — told deputy head of Rosleskhoz Alexei Venglinsky.

In the framework of the national project «Ecology» the task was set to reduce the damage from forest fires by several times.

By the way

What else has been done by forest departments in the regions to prevent fires since the beginning of 2022?

  • More than 4.7 thousand km of forest roads designed to protect forests from fires have been laid and reconstructed.
  • More than 300 thousand km of fire breaks and mineralized strips have been equipped.
  • More than 23 thousand .recreation areas for citizens in forest areas.
  • More than 65,000 information stands and notice boards with reminders of the need to comply with fire safety rules have been placed.


Fire Front Heroes

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Evgeny Martyanov — 1st class fire brigade instructor. 

He started working as a paratrooper-firefighter back in 1985. 

Since then, he has accounted for hundreds of extinguished hectares of forest in Yamal, Yakutia, the Krasnoyarsk Territory, Buryatia, Tyva, the Magadan Region, the Khabarovsk Territory, the Irkutsk Region and other regions of the country. More than 700 jumps from an An-2 aircraft and 200 descents on a descender from a Mi-8 helicopter to forest fire extinguishing sites. He has many awards for his service. 

And now, on hot weekdays, Martyanov's group has been fighting fire for more than a month in the impenetrable taiga of Yakutia, after extinguishing fires in the Krasnoyarsk Territory. 

«Fire— this is an element, and its extinguishing — the science. Therefore, it is necessary to fight the fire in the forest with your head, », — repeats E. Martyanov. Young colleagues see him as an example for themselves. And he definitely has something to share. 

Despite his solid experience, he constantly improves his special and physical training. He is interested in new developments in methods of extinguishing forest fires. 

Although Martyanov himself speaks very modestly and does not expect awards. Stand up for the “lungs” planets for him — daily work.

Evgeny Astakhov — the leading specialist in the country in blasting when extinguishing fires, deputy head of the parachute fire service of the FBU “Avialesookhrana”.

Originally from the metallurgical mountain town of Kovdora, which is located beyond the Arctic Circle in the Murmansk region. In 2010 he graduated from the university with a degree in explosives, a few years later he joined Avialesokhrana. and got down to business — resume blasting on fires. I had to restore the documentation (in Soviet times, this method was used), to train specialists. Astakhov completed training courses for a firefighter paratrooper in order to personally work on fires on a par with specialists. The worst thing was when I first encountered a crown fire, striking in its power and howl. 

«I remember how they fought fire in the Namsky district of Yakutia, — remembers Eugene. — Then several small fires merged into one. There were no helicopter landing sites. Firefighter paratroopers had to jump from a helicopter and cut out areas for a helicopter to land. The situation was aggravated by heat and wind. The flames spread unpredictably. I had to be proactive. Tired, as we worked on the polar night, we still localized the fire».

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