Russia on fire: the rate of fires has doubled in the last three months

In our previous publication, which is available below on the same page, we analyzed the dynamics of fires in the Russian Federation in 2022. This time, we added the first 3 months of 2023 to the calculation.

Factual and forecasted number of fires over the past 15 months in Russia, forecasted values calculated by the Molfar OSINT community at the end of 2022

OSINT agency Molfar correctly predicted an increase in the number of fires during the first months of 2023. Although we were somewhat optimistic in our forecasts, the number of fires did increase. Compare for yourself: 414 cases during the whole of 2022, compared to 212 fires in the first three months of 2023. It should be reminded that during the same period (January – March) last year, there were only 64 fires across Russia, which is even three times less than this year.

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Flammable objects: what catches fire most often in Russia?

Russian warehouses and factories burned the most – more than 70% of all cases occurred at these facilities. Shopping centers also burned quite well (12% of all cases) – note that all fires occurred at night, so there were no mass casualties.

Factories, warehouses and shopping malls were most often on fire in Russia

Information about fires at military plants and energy facilities is no longer published in the Russian media. Either the Russian media publish only a part of the cases, present information in an edited form, or downplay the scale of the destruction. However, the Molfar team received detailed data directly from a competent person with the necessary access. Thus, in this research, we were additionally able to use "closed" statistics from the state register of the Russian Federation’s emergencies.

We advise Russians to take a closer look at their neighbors, as some of them are already working for Ukraine's victory.

From a subjective point of view, fires at thermal power plants and important infrastructure facilities in Russia are the most effective. In particular, we are talking about enterprises involved in the production of weapons, equipment, shells, ammunition and other military supplies. As the most high-profile fires and the largest losses are yet to come, we offer you our own top 3 fires in Russia in the first three months of 2023.

  1. A 6,000-square-meter warehouse caught fire in Krasnoyarsk. The fire was extinguished by 74 people and 24 pieces of equipment.
  2. A 5,000-square-meter production facility caught fire in the Moscow region. The fire was extinguished by 55 rescuers and 17 pieces of equipment.
  3. A warehouse covering an area of 4,000 square meters caught fire in Odintsovo, Moscow Region. The fire was extinguished by 83 people and 23 pieces of equipment.

The dynamics show that the number of fires is constantly growing. It should be noted that summer, which is traditionally rich in fires and industrial explosions, is coming soon.

The types of flammable objects that burned most often – dynamics by month.
Please note that the number of fires has increased significantly since October.

Moscow region is burning the brightest: 11% of all fires are in the capital region of Russia

11% is the total figure for all 15 months studied. If we take only the last three, 35 out of 212 cases occurred in the Moscow region, which is 16.5%.

Map of the Russian Federation with all regions and the number of fires from 01.01.2022 to 31.03.2022

In the first three months of 2023, the Moscow region of Russia burned down:

  • 8 shopping malls;
  • 20 warehouses;
  • 6 factories;
  • 1 energy facility.

It is worth reminding that in the first three months of last year, only 6 fires occurred in the Moscow region. The dynamics of cases tends to increase.

Chart of flammable regions of the Russian Federation

We have ranked the five most flammable regions of Russia, and the number of fires listed is the sum of all incidents over the past 15 months.

According to statistics, the top 5 regions with the highest number of fires of all categories for January 01, 2022 – March 31, 2023

The graph clearly shows that the most dangerous regions of the Russian Federation are both imperial centers – Moscow and Leningrad regions of the Russian Federation.

The Sverdlovsk and Rostov regions, as well as the Krasnoyarsk Territory, are also well covered. The Rostov region is understandable: it is located on the border with Ukraine, so Russian propaganda will blame the fires on Ukrainian saboteurs. However, it could have been just critical negligence for warehouse and factory personnel.

What is burning in these flammable areas? Let's analyze the losses of the Russian Federation in detail below.

Types of objects by regions of the Russian Federation that burned most often

Warehouses and factories are once again in the lead, but commercial, industrial and even military facilities have also been burning. Interestingly, oil refineries and gas pipeline facilities are actively burning in remote regions of Russia.

👉 We would like to remind you that the Molfar OSINT community managed to confirm the forced deportation by Russia from the temporarily occupied territory of Ukraine – according to various estimates, from 300 to 700 thousand Ukrainian children! And as the war continues, these are not the final figures.

Who is responsible for the fires in Russia: the mysterious Ukrainian intelligence project BlackBox or Russian partisans?

Last time, we put forward two hypotheses to explain the increase in the number of fires in the Russian Federation. The first was related to Ukrainian intelligence, the second to the Russian resistance movement. As is always the case, the truth is somewhere in the middle. The Molfar OSINT community, based on updated data on fires in Russia, is currently leaning toward a hybrid version.

In the graph below, the green color indicates the time when the fundraising for the secret project of the Defence Intelligence of Ukraine called BlackBox was completed. Since then, the number of fires in the Russian Federation has been steadily increasing.

Dynamics of fires in Russia over the past 15 months

Every line in the graph looks good because it means multimillion-dollar financial and significant material losses for the terrorist regime of the Russian Federation. For example, the completion of the BlackBox fundraising has contributed to an increase in the dynamics of fires. At the same time, the beginning of 2023, which is tenderly called the "counteroffensive" year in Ukraine, improved the dynamics even more. So, the process has been launched, and all that remains is to observe and continue to support the Armed Forces of Ukraine.

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What burned best in Russia, 2022: analytics and forecasts by Molfar (previous blog post)

A good day is the one that starts with explosions and fires in Russian cities. It is even more pleasant to look at the statistics: in just the last two months of 2022, the number of fires in Russia has doubled. Yes, just when Taras Chmut and Igor Lachenkov announced the completion of fundraising for the mysterious "Black Box". Most often, warehouses burned in the Moscow region, and there were also explosions at factories and in shopping malls near the St. Petersburg. 

The Molfar team has prepared an article about the largest fires in Russia, the TOP flammable regions of Russia and how often Muscovy will burn this year 🔥

We love to watch Russia burn: how the fragments of the enemy state are gradually smoldering, and the Russians are fussing and writing frightened posts in social networks. And the Russian media will once again write that the workers smoked where they should not have. Molfar counted these "cigarette incidents" – from January 1 to December 31, 2022, fires and explosions were recorded at 414 facilities in Russia. Only in the last two months of last year, the figure increased by an average of 26% per month. Therefore, even according to the most conservative estimates, in May, we will reach 100 fires in Russia!

Flammable objects in Russia: what burned most often?

Most often Russian factories and industrial facilities, shopping and entertainment centers and oil storage facilities were burning. Explosions on Russian gas pipelines were also accompanied by fireworks. Interestingly, the Russian Emergencies Ministry in its reports and statistics for 2021, for example, does not include fires in factories, warehouses, shopping malls. Only if there were explosions during fires. Probably, the statistics for 2022 will be no exception. But we will help them to compile that report. 

Factories, warehouses and shopping malls burned down most often in Russia last year

Fires broke out at various Russian factories: paint and varnish, textile, chemicals. Even distilleries loved by Russians were burning. For example, in Burmakino on October 10 (when Russia launched a massive missile and "Shahid" shelling of Ukraine), something exploded in a workshop at the military enterprise JSC "6 ARSENAL". This caused a fire on 700 square meters. Then a 33-year-old worker died, and two more employees were hospitalized.

On August 18, a warehouse with ammunition burned in Belgorod. The mayor of the city explained that the fire was caused by a "lens effect in hot weather". It seems that +17 Celsius poses a real danger to the Russian city bordering Ukraine. 

In October, a shrimp production workshop caught fire in the Moscow region: 86 people and 29 units of equipment were involved in extinguishing the fire. But it was necessary to call fighting dolphins to save the injured shrimp.

But the best thing was when in December, on the eve of the New Year holidays, a warehouse with alcohol burned in Saratov

Last year in Russia, there were huge fires, the burning area of which was calculated in thousands of square meters. We have formed our own TOP3 of the largest.

What types of flammable objects burned most often. As we can see, the number of fires has increased significantly since October. Apparently, also because of the "lens effect". Or maybe because of the "black box effect"?

Every 10th fire in Russia was in Moscow region

Map of Russia with all regions and the number of fires in 2022

After analyzing the rating of the most dangerous regions for the lives of Russians (due to constant explosions and fires), their favorite Moscow region burned most often. Of the 414 cases we counted, 40 were in Moscow region. Leningrad region is on the second place. There were 21 objects burning there. The third place in this rating is shared by Belgorod and Novosibirsk regions – 17 fires each. And one fire was not enough for Rostov region to be on the third place in our rating. 

Most often fires occurred in the Moscow region, it leads "flammable regions"

If you look through these cases by region and analyze what types of buildings burned there most often, we strongly recommend not to invest in warehouses in the Moscow region. As well as to build factories there. The same situation is in the Leningrad region. Residents of Belgorod region will be afraid to live near oil refineries and warehouse hangars. 

What types of buildings and in which regions burned most often

Russian incident index: what is the dynamics of fires in Russia in 2022?

We would not say that 2022 was a very hot year for Russia – something always burns in Russia. But last year was the top year compared to 2021. And statistics from October are especially pleasing to the eye. Then the number of fires, explosions and fires at various sites exceeded 40 per month. And in December, this number was already a record 66!

According to the article, only 6 fires at military industry facilities were recorded for the entire 2021. In 2022, this number doubled. Refineries and oil storage facilities burned only 11 times in covid 2021, while 24 fires are known for the whole of 2022.

Who can be behind the arsons in Russia?

Option 1. Last December, the former commander of a partisan cell in the Donbas, Volodymyr Zhemchugov, said in an interview that partisan legions, such as Freedom of Russia and Atesh, could be behind the arson attacks on Russian shopping malls and warehouses. Probably, they or recruited Russians were involved in the arsons, in particular, at the Perm Powder Plant and defense enterprises in Dzerzhynsk in May, the August explosion at the Belgorod ammunition depot and the defense industrial complex of JSC "6 ARSENAL" in October.

Option 2. In December, Taras Chmut (the head of the charity fund "Come Back Alive") and blogger Igor Lachenkov announced the completion of fundraising for the mysterious "Black box". Volunteers managed to raise a whopping 230 million hryvnias. The public is not yet told what is in the "black box". But the head of the GUR, Kyrylo Budanov, said that the black box was very effective. 

As you can see, the number of fires in Russia has increased since October. At that time, Ukrainians finished the fundraising for the "Black box"

Option 3. There is another way – "secret" – that works effectively remotely. We talked to a person who knows very well how it works. The only thing we can say is that there were numerous cases of using the "secret remote method" in the territories of other countries, when enemy enterprises and factories were destroyed.

How often will it burn in Russia in 2023? Forecast from Molfar

Molfar, analyzing the whole picture of arsons in Russia, calculated that the growth trend of "incidents" in Russia will progress every month. That is, if over the past 2 months there was an average of 64.5 arsons and, according to our forecast, this figure will grow by 26%, then in January we will reach 83 fires per month. And with the most moderate estimates, there will be 100 fires in April. And this is at least!

Yellow bars indicate the forecast – how often and how many fires will occur in Russia 

How did Molfar prepare this forecast? 

1. First, we considered retrospective data and exponential smoothing.

2. We assume that the number of saboteurs on the territory of Russia will not decrease. And after the Russians will increasingly observe Russia's regular losses in the war in Ukraine and its gaps inside Russia, they will be more willing to cooperate with us. This was told to us by intelligence officers. 

3. The person who told us about the probable use of the "secret method" also told us how the attacks were made and at the same time calculated how many more there could potentially be. 

Anyway, we love it when something burns in Russia. We are confident that this trend will progress rapidly.

✉️ To contact the team and receive a comment, fill out the form below, or send your request to: [email protected]

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