Wildfires in Russia

Release date: April, 2019

Author(s): Alexey Yaroshenko, Marina Kanishcheva, Anna Andreeva, Elena Makurina, Alexey Drozdovsky

Language: English. Russian

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Each year Russia loses two million hectares of forest as a result of catastrophic fires. According to official statistics, nine out of ten wildfires in the country are caused by humans. To investigate the role human activity plays in forest fires, Greenpeace mapping experts conducted this analysis of major wildfires across Siberia in 2018. The total area analysed is 3.9 million square kilometres and includes four large regions: Amur, Irkutsk, Zabaykalsky and Krasnoyarsk. GIS specialists analysed satellite imagery to identify cases where wildfires were spatially linked to man-made objects such as roads, logging, settlements, or prescribed burnings. The presence of man-made objects close to the starting point of a wildfire does not conclusively prove it is anthropogenic, but does indicate a high probability that it is – particularly in sparsely-populated regions.