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Prime Minister instructs to use Burabai National Park's smart system experience of early fire detection in other natural parks and reserves

Prime Minister instructs to use Burabai National Park's smart system experience of early fire detection in other natural parks and reserves
Фото: primeminister.kz 15.05.2024 10:29 810

Issues of readiness of relevant agencies and akimats to the fire-dangerous period were considered at the Government session chaired by Prime Minister Olzhas Bektenov. Ministers for Emergency Situations Chingis Arinov, Ecology and Natural Resources Yerlan Nysanbayev reported on the situation. Akims of Abay, Pavlodar and Kostanay regions, which in the past were major fires, reported on preventive measures carried out in the regions, El.kz cites primeminister.kz.

Last year, fire destroyed more than 116,000 hectares of forests. Material damage, excluding environmental damage, exceeded 160 billion tenge. 

Akimats of the regions together with the Ministry for Emergency Situations approved plans to prevent wildfires, which include issues related to strengthening of logistical equipment, fuel and lubricants reserve, creation of mineralised strips, attraction of aircrafts. 

In addition, 53 additional fire-tactical exercises were conducted with forestry institutions, and 1,300 forest protection workers were trained. A grouping of forces and means in each region has been prepared to combat large fires. 

Prime Minister stressed that last year when fighting large forest fires there were not enough aircrafts of the Ministry for Emergency Situations, so helicopters of the Ministry of Defence, Interior and the National Security Committee were involved. At the moment, 19 aircrafts of Kazaviaspas aviation are in constant readiness mode, 9 of them are equipped with spillway devices. There are 120 drones for aerial reconnaissance. 

The government is implementing a Comprehensive Plan for 2023-2027 to strengthen the material and technical equipment of forestry farms with a total funding of more than 68 billion tenge.

Last year, the Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources purchased 25 fire-fighting vehicles, 51 small forest fire-fighting complexes, 154 tractors, 73 patrol vehicles and 655 pieces of fire-fighting equipment worth 9 billion tenge for environmental protection organisations. Local executive bodies purchased 20 fire fighting vehicles, 127 tractors and 76 patrol vehicles for 6.6 billion tenge. Previously, no such amount of funding was allocated for the material and technical equipment of the forestry sector. 

Today, the percentage of wear and tear of the existing equipment remains high and is 72 per cent for fire trucks, 50 per cent for tractors and 55 per cent for patrol vehicles. This year the material and technical equipment will be continued within the framework of the Comprehensive Plan. For these purposes, 3.8 billion tenge has been allocated from local budgets, and 15.4 billion tenge has been allocated for environmental organisations of the department from various sources. 

According to Kazhydromet's forecast, this year's summer is expected to be hot and dry. Especially in the west, east and south of the country. In this regard, the Prime Minister emphasised the existing high risk of fires and instructed to ensure preparedness in advance. About 30 forest fires have already been registered this year. There was a fire on the territory of "Semey Ormani", where the largest fire occurred last year. Akimat of Abay region needs to strengthen control over fire safety of the forest fund. In Almaty region on the territory of Ile-Balkhash natural reserve there was a fire of reeds on a large area. Reed and dry grass fires also occurred in Aktobe, Atyrau, Karaganda, Zhambyl and Kyzylorda regions.

The state bodies concerned are implementing the Action Plan on prevention and elimination of natural fires. However, in some regions this work is carried out at an inadequate level.

Head of the Government noted that in Akmola, Almaty, East Kazakhstan, Zhambyl regions, Abai and Ulytau regions the creation of mineralised strips has only begun and barely reaches one third of the necessary. Settlements without such ploughed strips are in no way protected from steppe or forest fires. In the villages of Aktobe, Pavlodar, Karaganda, North Kazakhstan regions, the territories have not yet been cleared of dry vegetation and rubbish.

"Fire and technical equipment of forestry and nature protection institutions is weak. We were convinced of this as early as last year. The insufficient number of drones does not allow us to conduct a full-fledged aerial survey of forests and steppes. There are manufacturers of such devices in Kazakhstan. The lack of modern equipment and means of extinguishing natural fires slows down the adoption of operational measures in the fight against fire. All these issues require a comprehensive solution and coordinated work of central and local government agencies," Olzhas Bektenov emphasised and instructed to introduce new technologies for prompt detection of forest fires. 

Today the system of early detection of fires in forests is covered only 2% of the total area of the state forest fund. Thanks to the smart system introduced in the territory of the national park "Burabai" in recent years significantly reduced the area of fires and improved the efficiency of response. This experience will be used in other natural parks and reserves.

Prime Minister gave a number of instructions to the heads of departments and regions:

  • Akimats to continue work on the organisation of fire posts and voluntary fire-fighting formations in settlements. In addition, to provide forestry institutions with elementary fire extinguishing equipment.
  • The Ministry of Ecology, local executive bodies, taking into account the experience of previous fires, to set up additional observation posts in places with the highest risk of fires. Also, together with the Ministry for Emergency Situations and Akimats to prepare water sources and fire ponds for water intake by fire trucks and helicopters.
  • The Ministries for Emergency Situations, Ecology and Akimats to strengthen cooperation with the relevant services of the border areas of neighbouring countries on rapid response to natural fires.
  • The Ministries for Emergency Situations, Culture and Information, Akimats to intensify explanatory work among the population on the issue of compliance with fire safety requirements, to conduct relevant exercises.
  • The Ministry for Emergency Situations together with the interested state bodies to take daily control over the implementation of the special Interagency Plan for the prevention and elimination of forest and steppe fires in the country.
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