125% More Fire: What Burned in Russia in 2023



Five kilometers of the fire front destroyed stores of 'boyaryshnik' (hawthorn liquor), fuel, and other flammable materials — this is far from the complete list of spectacular events in Russia for 2023. The number of fires in Russia just barely reached a thousand. Moreover, the total number exceeded the previous year's figure by 125%. The fires were notable in quantity and the uniqueness of the objects they destroyed in Russia.


Analysts from the Molfar agency are examining the fires in Russia at the end of 2023. In the publication, we will summarize not only the last quarter but also analyze the overall picture of fires in Russia for 2023 and how the situation has changed since last year.



Fire trends in Russia. Comparing 2022 and 2023


There were 939 fires in Russia in 2023, compared to 416 in 2022. This means that the number of fires in Russia increased by 125.7% in 2023 compared to the previous year. And there was a 24.5% increase in fires in 2022 compared to 2021.

yearly statistic of fires in russia

From January 2022 to December 2023, were 1,355 fires known in Russia. The majority occurred in factories (nearly 38%), warehouses (also about 38%), and shopping centers (12.6%).

fires in Russia by Object
What burned most frequently in Russia during the years 2022-2023

The most fires in Russia occurred in the Moscow region (162 incidents). Other regions, such as the Leningrad and Sverdlovsk regions and the Krasnodar Territory, also stood out in the ranking for the number of fires in Russia.

fires in russia by regions
Number of fires at various facilities in Russia — regional statistics for the year 2023

If we also consider domestic fires and open flames in forests, in addition to fires at enterprises, there were 100,000 fires in Russia. According to the Ministry of Emergency Situations of the Russia statistics, this figure is 15% higher than the previous year. Due to the fires, the Russian economy suffered losses of approximately 1 billion rubles, roughly 16 million dollars as of early January 2024.


For comparison, in 2022, 416 fires were recorded in Russia (excluding domestic and forest fires). Factories were the most frequent sites of fires -157 cases, followed closely by warehouses -156 cases. There were significantly fewer fires on gas pipelines and logistics centers, with only 7 and 5 cases, respectively.


infografics number of fires in russia 2022-2023
Розподіл пожеж на різних обʼєктах — порівняння 2022-2023

Meanwhile, in 2023, the total number of fires in Russia doubled, with 939 incidents. There was a noticeable increase in fires in shopping centers (+89).


The most significant increase in the number of fires in Russia occurred in factories (357) and warehouse facilities (357). An increase in the number of fires was also recorded in shopping centers (130).


Analyzing the quarterly data shows how the number of factory fires increased throughout the year. It can also be noted that warehouses consistently remain the most relevant targets for fire.

infografics of fires by quarters in russia
Statistics by fire types divided into quarters of 2023


Fire Statistics in Russia: Summary of the Fourth Quarter of 2023


At the end of 2023, Russia's highest number of fires occurred in factories and warehouses. This trend persisted throughout the year. There were 27 incidents at factories and 11 in shopping centers in October. In November, factory fires increased to 40, with 27 warehouses also burning. In December, fires affected 30 factories and 35 warehouses.

The main fire centers in Russia
In the fourth quarter, warehouses and factories had the highest number of fires.

226 different facilities caught fire in Russia during October-December 2023. In the previous quarter, there were 211 fires in Russia.

Comparison of the last two quarters of fires in Russia 2023
This chart shows the trends in fires for the last six months of 2023

In September and November 2023, the number of fires in Russia increased, especially in industrial facilities, warehouses, and shopping centers. The fires were numerous in industrial areas and affected military bases and power stations. This trend continued until the end of the year. Fires at military facilities, although not frequent, still occur periodically. The latest was recorded in December.

These graphs depict the trends of fires in various types of objects in Russia during 2022-2023.

Interestingly, during the last three months of the year, the number of fires in shopping centers remains consistent — around 10.


The trend of increasing numbers of fires at factories was observed throughout the year. Peak months were May, September, and November 2023, with 43, 42, and 40 fires in Russia recorded, respectively. December also brought many fires to Russian factories, with 30 recorded.

Trends in fires at factories in Russia starting from 2022


Some Fires in Russia at the End of 2023

Let's consider cases that best illustrate the end of 2023 in Russia. Here are a few specific examples.


Railway Car Repair Workshop

Fire in the city of Vologda
14 units of equipment extinguish a fire at a railway car repair plant - photo source: Russian Emergency Situations Ministry

The railway is one of the main arteries through which Russia supplies weapons and troops for the war against Ukraine. That's why this seemingly small fire is actually of great significance. The fire occurred in the city of Vologda, around 10 PM, on November 6th. A workshop where railway cars are repaired caught fire. 14 units of equipment and 48 Russians were involved in extinguishing the fire.


The Tractor Plant in Chelyabinsk, which manufactures tank engines

xplosion at the tractor plant in Chelyabinsk
The moment of explosion at the tractor plant in Chelyabinsk. Photo source: Russian website

The moment of the explosion was recorded and published on social networks. On the evening of November 26th, an explosion occurred at the Chelyabinsk Tractor Plant, followed by a fire. According to Russian reports, the area around the plant experienced a power outage after the blast. Two ambulances and six fire trucks were deployed at the explosion site. The Chelyabinsk Tractor Plant (russian — Челябинский тракторный завод) actively produces tank components. At the beginning of 2023, it was reported that ChTP had "surpassed the Soviet Union's record" in the production volume of tank engines. Information also shows that the plant recently underwent modernization and expanded its workforce (12).


Nizhny Novgorod — "Poliot"

On November 17th, a fire occurred in the Scientific-Production Enterprise "Poliot" building in Nizhny Novgorod. This enterprise is engaged in developing and producing equipment for aviation communication. According to information on the company's website, they produce radio receivers, internal communication equipment, and medical technology. At the fire scene, 55 Russians and 14 equipment units were deployed. The fire was quickly extinguished, but nearly 300 employees had to be evacuated.


The end of 2023 brought several particularly large-scale fires to Russia. Among them were a fire in a shopping and entertainment center in Ulan-Ude and in an establishment called "Zhar-Ptitsa" ("Firebird"). Next, we will analyze the largest among them.



Shopping center in Ulan-Ude

A fire occurred at the "Gvozd" shopping center. According to Russian media, an area of 22,000 square meters was burning. The roof of the building collapsed. 126 people were involved in extinguishing the fire, and 32 units of equipment were deployed. The cause of the fire is not reported, but it likely started outside the building.


The fire affected the traffic situation in the area (12), where movement for cars and trams was blocked, leading to traffic jams in the city (12). This shopping center is known as the largest in Ulan-Ude and specializes in furniture sales. It housed 130 companies.


Naberezhnye Chelny. A warehouse burned down

fire at a warehouse in Naberezhnye Chelny
Screenshot from the Ministry of Emergency Situations of the Russian Federation video — fire at a warehouse in Naberezhnye Chelny

The total area of the fire was 6,800 square meters. It likely occurred at the "Garage-500" car market. However, the fire was so complex that the Russians had to deploy even more resources than in the previous case — here, the blaze was extinguished by 130 firefighters and 40 units of equipment.


Fire at a Food Warehouse in Tolyatti

On November 15th, at around 5 in the morning, a food warehouse in Tolyatti caught fire. The fire spread over 1,200 square meters, and the building's roof was engulfed in flames. This fire required the efforts of 55 Russian firefighters and 18 equipment units, and they struggled to extinguish it for over 4 and a half hours. The fire was finally wholly extinguished by 10 in the morning.

The fire in Tolyatti destroyed the food warehouse. Source: The Ministry of Emergency Situations of the Russian Federation (MChS Russia)

There were also fires in warehouses where medicines were stored. The fire destroyed 2000 square meters. 90 Russians and 29 pieces of equipment were used to extinguish the fire. Then, the residents of Moscow were left without pants. Russian media reported on a powerful fire at one of the Moscow markets. 350 square meters were burned. A total of 170 firefighters were engaged to extinguish the fire. 


The Koshkino village also suffered a destructive fire. A warehouse of wooden pallets burned in this settlement. The fire destroyed 1800 square meters of premises.


"Zhar-Ptitsa" burned down in Nizhny Novgorod


On November 24th, in Nizhny Novgorod, 3000 visitors of the shopping center "Zhar-Ptitsa" were evacuated. The fire alarm was triggered due to burnt food in the food court of the establishment.


Fires at power stations resulted in blackouts in Russia

Six fires occurred at power stations during November and one in December in Russia. Some of them resulted in temporary blackouts in Russian cities. For example, a fire at a transformer in Astrakhan left 130 homes without electricity. In Velikiy Novgorod, a transformer substation caught fire, and about 30 homes were left without power. In the Nizhny Novgorod region, unknown individuals set fire to relay cabinets at a railway station, suspending train services.

Statistics of fires at power stations throughout the year

According to statistics for the entire year, the highest number of fires at power stations occurred in February 2023, with 9 fires. Following the link, you can read the publication with an analysis of the previous and third quarters.


The dynamics of fires in Russia throughout 2023


Since the beginning of 2023, there has been a significant increase in fires in Russia. Despite attempts by the authorities and the media to conceal the whole picture, available open sources allow us to form an understanding of the scale. Over two years (2022 and 2023), the number of fires at various objects in Russia reached 1355 incidents. In May 2023, for example, one of the largest fires of the year occurred, covering over 5 hectares — a garbage fire. This period was characterized by the largest fires in terms of area. For instance, in Tomsk, a blaze destroyed a facility covering an area of ​​30,000 square meters, and it took a whole day to extinguish it.


In the third quarter of 2023, there was a 14% increase in fires. Although they did not reach the scale of those in the summer months, their impact on infrastructure and military facilities remained high.


Significant growth in the number of fires was particularly noticeable in the industrial sector and on military objects. These fires caused Russia million-dollar losses and seriously impacted the country's economy, disrupting the ordinary course of production processes and commercial activities. As a result, critical infrastructure, including industrial facilities and warehouses, was destroyed, leading to production and logistics losses.


It will be interesting to see what 2024 holds for Russia. Will the number of fires continue to increase, considering the ongoing trend?


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