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Russia Fights Fires; Australians Relive Black Day …

  • August 1st, 2010
  • Posted by EUEditor

russia-fires.jpgEmpathy was in the wind as Australians learned of the continuing  forest fire crisis in Russia, on the day that the Royal Commission into Victoria’s Black Saturday fires presented its report.


Thousands of firefighters were being backed up by troops, tackling blazes that killed over over 25 people in a wide region — 87000 hectares — surrounding Moscow.

russia-fires-2.jpgIn places whole villages were destroyed as the fires, produced by a heat wave lasting over weeks, broke out in woodlands and peat bogs.

Some 1000 homes have been lost, and hundreds of thousands have faced evacuation to safer places.


The nightmare of the Black Saturday fires in Victoria (7.2.09) was brought back to the survivors with the release on Saturday (31.7.10) of the findings of the Royal Commission into the disaster.

bushfires-411.jpegThe official death toll was 173 with 414 injured in the outbreaks, which devastated wide areas of country North of Melbourne, after a prolonged period of drought, days of abnormal hot weather, and then winds.

koala-love-high-res21.jpgThe Royal Commission produced 67 recommendations, including: rebuilding of old electricity infrastructure, much of it to be put under ground; a voluntary home acquisition scheme for residents living in exposed areas; appointment of an independent Fire Commissioner to coordinate bushfire responses, and increased burning off of fuel.

It endorsed continuation of the “stay or go” policy for householders but called for a comprehensive evacuation plan. The report contained criticism of the response of  heads of emergency services, and identified problems with electricity installations in the heat, as the cause of major flare-ups.

Royal Commission report, see: “2009 Victorian Bushfires Royal Commission, Interim Report”, Melbourne, 31.7.10.


ABC (Australia), “Black Saturday”, 1.8.10. …, (1.8.10).

Aljazeera, Doha, “Dozens die as Russian fires spread”, 30.7.10. …, (1.8.10).

David Nowak, “Raging Russian fires …”, 30.7.10, Associated Press, NY.


Russian fires,,; Koala Sam AAP.