Aerial Forest Protection Service Day in Russia Date in the current year: July 7, 2024

Aerial Forest Protection Service Day in Russia Aerial Forest Protection Service Day is a Russian professional holiday celebrated on July 7. It commemorates the founding anniversary of the government agency responsible for the aerial management of forest fires, commonly known as Avialesookhrana.

Russian pilots first suggested patrolling forests to detect and manage forest fires back in 1915–1916, but the Russian Revolution prevented their suggestion from being implemented. The active use of aircraft in forestry in the Soviet Union began in 1923, following the creation of the civil air fleet.

The birthday of the Russian Aerial Forest Protection Service is July 7, 1931. On this day, the U-2 (also known as the Polikarpov Po-2) biplane took off from an airfield in Uren to patrol forests in the Nizhny Novgorod region.

This flight was the first of many during an aviation expedition that lasted a total of 40 hours. During the expedition, its participants detected 14 forest fires on an area of 1.5 million hectares. Using drop messages, they informed the authorities of the nearest settlements, who then requested assistance from forestries.

Between 1932 and 1935, Russian forestries conducted experiments in using aircraft (the aforementioned Po-2 and the Shavrov Sh-2) to detect and combat forest fires from the air using chemical bombs and explosives. There were also experiments with smoke jumpers — paratroopers who alerted local communities and mobilized firefighting squads.

In 1936, the Soviet government created the All-Union Forestry Aviation Trust (Lesavia), which comprised several air detachments responsible for carrying out various forest aviation operations, including the protection of forests from wildfires. By the beginning of World War II, the fleet of the Lesavia trust had 70 Po-2 and Sh-2 aircraft, which were used to patrol 190 million hectares of forests.

After the end of the war, the process of centralizing the aerial forest protection service began; in 1949, the Ministry of Forestry of the USSR created several bases for aerial forest protection. In 1958, the Central Base became the main governing body of all existing aerial forest protection bases. By that time, aerial forest protection detachments were guarding 547 million hectares of forests in Russia, Ukraine and Belarus.

In 1988, the Central Air Base was reorganized into the Avialesookhrana Industrial Association, which, in turn, was transformed into the Aerial Forest Protection Service of the Russian Federation, commonly referred to as Avialesookhrana, following the dissolution of the Soviet Union.

Avialesookhrana is a government agency subordinate to the Federal Agency for Forestry of the Russian Federation (Rosleskhoz), which, in turn, is part of the country’s Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment.

The agency is responsible for monitoring fire danger, managing forest fires, preventing the consequences of wildfires, training smoke jumpers and other specialists who respond to forest fires, and acting as a specialized dispatch service of the Federal Agency for Forestry.

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Aerial Forest Protection Service Day in Russia, holidays in Russia, professional holidays, Russian professional holidays, Avialesookhrana