Thursday, August 5, 2010

Map of fire situation in Russia

Having surveyed Russian language media sources, JOTMAN.COM contributor Sanjuro reports on the fires sweeping across Russia:
It's quite amazing that mainstream media in the west are failing to provide good stories with the Russia fire situation. It looks like half of the country, most of its populated part, is on fire. Some pics and videos are quite apocalyptic in nature. Authorities are proving next to useless - even a The Russian Navy's materiel base was reportedly seriously damaged, and as of yesterday there were reports of a fire approaching a nuclear research center in Sarov (former secret town Arzamas-16). The current situation is both a result of the past years' cutback of firefighting services in rural areas, and an illustration, along with man-made disasters of the recent past, just how badly the Russian infrastructure has deteriorated. It's not quite Pakistan as yet. The most badly affected areas are the areas surrounding the cities of Ryazan and Voronezh, both major cities. But it's pretty bad everywhere.     Some maps:
  • The daily-updated map of the burning areas is seen on the GoogleEarth: (looks scary, that was on Jul31 could have changed since - but if it's true, then forestry has pretty much been decimated in Western Russia for the next fifteen years.
  • If you have GoogleEarth installed, you can view this map.
PM Vladimir Putin is busy shuttling from one fire scene to another, "fixing" things. Seems genuinely concerned, but may also be trying to convert into cheap political capital. Medvedev has so far seemed distanced, but now is getting sucked into this as well.
Despite more resources thrown into this, the fires are likely to continue until the autumn.

Perhaps the best sources of news on the fires have been the eyewitness reports of bloggers.  Sanjuro takes us through some of the best he came across over at THERE LIVE.COM.


  1. Holy shit.

  2. yeah, holy shit is about it.

  3. John in Michigan, USAAugust 07, 2010

    The fire situation in Russia is genuinely bad...that said, I suspect this map is misleading because each reported fire, large or small, is marked by the same sized icon. This is a common problem in mapping systems.

    You can tell because, on this map, N. Africa and Turkey also appear to be "on fire" but as far as I can tell these regions are having near-normal fire seasons.

    A better map would be one with different colors representing the percentage of land that is on fire; or a satellite photo showing smoke.

  4. Here is a link to a wikipedia map and report on the Russian wildfires, if you load the larger version of the sat pic at the top of the article you can see each fire marked by a red outline, not quite as dramatic as the map on this blog. Nevertheless these fires are causing a lot of damage and killing a lot of people, many from the polution caused, also the wheat harvest will be badly affected.

  5. Forgot the link, sorry


  6. The map is incorrect at least as far as the north-Serbian part is concerned. I see there are at least 4-5 fires on the map, but I haven't heard of any of them. (I would kinda notice if my neighborhood was on fire...)

  7. Stopped reading at "Half the country is on fire"

    Sensationalist BS

  8. Anonymous,

    First of all, you misquote Sanjuro, cutting away some context. If you can't be bothered to read the whole post, don't be so quick to accuse someone of BS or sensationalism.

    Anyway, did you really think the phrase was intended to be taken literally? At least it seemed obvious to me from the context that Sanjuro meant "half the country" as a figure of speech. Sanjuro is never sensationalist when it comes to reporting on events inside his country. If you had bothered to read any further, or were aware of his many even-handed political analysis, this would surely have been clear to you.

    I might add that English is not Sanjuro's first language. For the benefit of others, I have edited the line to clear up any possible confusion.

  9. Yeah. Sensationalist BS. Really. Its a fucking huge fucking fire.



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