Tag Archives: Fire

Siberia fires: illegal timber trade with China

Among major causes of devastating Sibera fires Duma Ecology committee chair Vladimir Bourmatov points at the activities of illegal lumberjacks, or “black loggers”. At present upon the request of the State Duma, the government and the Investigative committee of the Russian Federation, have launched the investigation into the occurrence of 500 epicenters of forest blaze as cause of illegal human activities. (Image above: Russian social networks).

The entire forest industry in Russia is in the “shadow” sector. A temporary timber export embargo has been suggested earlier this year. The statement was made by the chairwoman of the Federation Council (upper house of Russian parliament) Valentina Matvienko, requesting an imposition of embargo on the export of timber from Russia until rules are in place. She suggested to Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev to take measures without delay in February this year.

Matvienko explained the ways of illegal logging and illegal export abroad. The entire trade is oriented toward China as the largest importer of round timber in the world. Thus, massive deforestation is conducted under the pretext of sanitary protection of removing the diseased and rotting trees, instead the companies which are supposed to take care of the forests, are cutting down the best of spruces, pines and oaks and transporting them to China. The lucrative illegal trade is masked by ecological activities across the entire Siberia.

The forest fires in Siberia began almost a week ago, but because of the negligence of Russian officials, who were unwilling to take an action, the area of ignition has been steadily and rapidly increasing reaching an epic scale: more than three million hectares in flames, and smoke stretches for 700 km. At present it has already reached the coast of the USA and Canada, cities touched Vancouver and Seattle.

However the smoke from the blaze continues to stretch further: is now visible in Alaska. In total, three million hectares of forest burn in Siberia. It roughly reaches the size of Belgium.

Meteorology professor from Moscow State University, Alexander Kislov said that the burning particles can fly around the entire planet from west to east, following the movement of Earth in space.

Under wave of international criticism Roscosmos Corporation revealed the gravity of the situation publishing the images of fires swiftly spreading along territories of Russian Federation in the Jewish Autonomous Region, the Republic of Sakha, Buryatia, the Irkutsk Region, the Krasnoyarsk and Khabarovsk Territories.

After the situation caused grave international concern, Russian authorities started to act under direct orders of President Putin, who sent army to resolve the ecological crisis.

At present more than 2.8 million hectares of forest are consumed by blaze, withe the largest area in fire is in Yakutia, where 1.1 million hectares of forest are in flames, in the Krasnoyarsk Territory the flames spread to more than one million hectares, and in the Irkutsk Region – 700 thousand hectares.

This week only 2.700 people, 390 units of ground equipment and 28 aircraft take part in extinguishing on the territory in flames equal to Belgium. The Siberians claim the response in not relevant to the scale of drama.

Among the other causes of Siberia fires Bourmatov names the inefficient and insufficient measures of prevention.

President Trump spoke with President Putin on July 31, and offered U.S. help in fighting according to a Kremlin account of the call.

Putin, in response, expressed his “sincere gratitude” to Trump and said that if necessary, he will accept the offer, the Kremlin said.

Putin, has called in the army to fight the forest fires, enveloping entire Siberian cities in black smoke for weeks. The local authorities has been explaining to population that measures against forest fires are not “economically viable“. They added that rains will stop the advancement of blaze, while meteo scientists clarified that hot air raising from fires prevents formation of clouds. There are no natural heavy rainfall expected until mid-September.

 

EU for aid to reconstruct Notre-Dame

The president of the European Parliament Antonio Tajani expressed his grief, and his support to France in dramatic moments of aftermath of fire, consuming greatest Paris monument.  He called Notre-Dame “first Cathedral” of his life, and added that his heart is broken. The emotional address of the president came during the morning Plenary session in the European parliament, Strasbourg.

The president of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker said in his Twitter micro blog, that he had been following the development of the situation “minute by minute”, underlining that Notre-Dame belongs to humanity. He referred to the fire as “horror”, sharing feelings of French nation.

The president of the European Council Donald Tusk stepped forward with an optimistic message of possibility of reconstruction of Notre Dame. Being a citizen of Polish city of Gdansk he ensured that it is possible, illustrating his opinion with the experience of his home town, which  suffered almost total destructed and resurrected.

Pakistani migrant accused of arson in Greece

A Pakistani migrant was arrested for trying to set fire near the military camp of Perama. The arrest has been confirmed by the local police. 

Perama is an area with a high concentration of refugees. The migrant was arrested and interrogated after being charged and prosecuted with arson. Local police confirmed to our reporter that a Pakistani migrant has been arrested in the area.

The first information of the Local webpage epirus gate says that the perpetrator denies all charges and was just ‘working in the area’.

The heat of the Greek summer and the strong blowing winds could lead to a massive destruction as the military camp of Perama houses military equipment.

“We have serious indications and significant signs suggesting the criminal actions of arson,”  said Civil Protection Minister Nikos Toskas during press-conference.

 

#Portugal fire: EU sent a liason officer

All our thoughts are with the families and friends of those affected by the deadly forest fires that have struck several parts of Portugal.

We express our condolences to those that have lost loved ones.

The EU is fully ready to help. All will be done to assist the authorities and people of Portugal at this time of need.

In an immediate response to a request for assistance by the Portuguese authorities, the EU’s Civil Protection Mechanism has been activated to provide firefighting aircraft.

Immediately, France has offered three planes through the EU Civil Protection Mechanism and they will be quickly sent to assist the local emergency efforts. In addition, Spain has also sent aircraft on a bilateral basis.

We commend the bravery of the firefighters and emergency services on the scene risking their own lives to save others.

The European Commission’s Emergency Response Coordination Centre (ERCC), which monitors natural disasters 24/7, is in constant contact with the national civil protection authorities.

The EU’s emergency centre has sent a liaison officer to Portugal and will coordinate the delivery of support and any further requests.

Statement by Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management Christos Stylianides on the deadly forest fires in #Portugal.

#Portugal blaze: EU promises assistance

Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said in a message in Portuguese, published on Twitter, that his thoughts were with the victims and praised firefighters for their bravery.

The death toll released by Jorge Gomes, the secretary of state for internal affairs, has gradually climbed from the 19 initially announced late on Saturday, June, 17. Gomes said most of the victims were caught in their vehicles on the road. At the moment there are at least 43 killed, 59 injured in #Portugal forest fires, the number of missing is unknown.

https://twitter.com/Mariana96Gomes/status/876365407682269184

“All will be done to assist the authorities and people of Portugal at this time of need,” the European Commission’s aid chief, Christos Stylianides, said in a statement.