VOLGOGRAD, August 11 (Itar-Tass) — Firefighters and foresters in the Volgograd region continue efforts to put out wildfires. To extinguish a major forest fire it is planned to use aircraft of the Russian Emergency Situations Ministry (EMERCOM). In less than a day the fire area has grown more than 4 times.
Spokeswoman for the regional EMERCOM department Yelena Rodionova told Itar-Tass that at the present time “the area engulfed by fire is 853 hectares, of which 82 hectares are pine plantations of the Archedinsky forest service.”
The fire alarm came at 17:10 MSK, Wednesday. A steppe fire at an area of 162 hectares swept 20 hectares of pine forest of the Archedinsky forestry. The hot and windy weather contributed to the spread of the fire.
At present a total of 420 people and 96 special equipment units are engaged in the fire-fighting operation, Rodionova said. She noted that there is no threat to human settlements, however to improve the efficiency of fire fighting it was decided at dawn to use special helicopters and airplanes of the Russian Emergencies Ministry.
The Volgograd region located in the south-eastern part of the East European Plain is a connecting link between all Russian regions, the CIS countries, and the whole world. It shares a border with many neighbours, including Voronezh, Saratov, Astrakhan, and Rostov regions, the Republic of Kalmykia, and Kazakhstan. The Volga River divides the region into the high Right Bank (elevations to 358 m) and the low Left Bank (or Trans-Volga). The Volga and the Don are the region’s main rivers. The Volgograd region has an area of 113,900 square km (0.67 percent of the Russian Federation).
The region has a continental climate with hot, dry summers and cold winters with little snow. Annual precipitation varies from about 500 mm in the northeast to 250 mm in the southeast. The average January temperature ranges from -8 °C to -12 °C, and the average July temperature is +23 °C. Most of the region is located in the dry steppe and semi-desert zones. Soils are divided into five different zones: steppe black earth (chernozem), dry steppe light chestnut, dry steppe chestnut, semi-desert light chestnut, and Volga-Akhtuba floodplain.
Volgograd Region is participating in an experiment of the RF Ministry of Natural Resources to introduce environmental insurance for predicting the prevention of environmental crises and elimination of their consequences. Volgograd has been designated as an experimental centre for developing new atmospheric quality control methods.