logo

Today in Wildfire History: 1987 Black Dragon Fire kills 200 on the way to charring 18 million acres in China and Russia

logo
Today in Wildfire History: 1987 Black Dragon Fire kills 200 on the way to charring 18 million acres in China and Russia

The Black Dragon fire ignited in May of 1987 in China. Driven by parched conditions and high winds, the wildfire devoured land along both sides of the Amur river, blazing along the Sino-Soviet frontier. The Chinese mobilized two armies of regular troops and thousands of forestry workers to fight the blaze, according to the New York Times. Lacking sophisticated suppression tools, most of the 60,000 Chinese fighting the fire were armed with beaters. May 7th and 8th saw the worst days of the Black Dragon fire, as 200 in the path of the blaze perished and 250 were injured. By the end of the fire siege, 3 million acres of forest land had burned in China, totaling 1/3 of the Black Dragon forest reserve.

The Russian government opted to allow the wildfire to burn unchecked on their side of the border. Though in total the fire burned some 15 million acres of Russian timber, the Russian government predicted that they would not harvest in that area for at least a century, which would allow the forest ample time to regrow.

The wildfire was only finally contained in June, after extreme wind conditions subsided. In all, 18 million acres of forested land were charred in the fire.

Photo credit: Rachel C. Smith 2004 All rights reserved

Share

5 Responses to “Today in Wildfire History: 1987 Black Dragon Fire kills 200 on the way to charring 18 million acres in China and Russia”

  1. kurt kamm says:

    May I reprint this on my website? I will credit you
    Thanks

  2. Tony Morris says:

    May 19, 2010

    Rachel:
    Wildfire Research Network (WRN)is a 501 c(3) non-profit research foundation. WRN researches firefighting aircraft and has testified at a hearing of the House Sub-committee on Domestic Policy after the 2007 wildfire siege in Southern CA.
    I would like to speak with you about our research and your research. Could you send a phone contact and e-mail?

    Thanks.

    Tony Morris
    Founder & Media Director
    WILDFIRE RESEARCH NETWORK
    843 Fernwood Pacific Drive
    Topanga CA 90290
    (310) 455-0798 Office
    (310) 774-1696 Cell

  3. Fire Basket says:

    ;,” I am really thankful to this topic because it really gives up to date information `~`

  4. [...] 18  The Black Dragon Fire of 1987, the largest wildfire in modern times, burned some 20 million acres across China and the Soviet Union, an area about the size of South Carolina. [...]

  5. Bertie Fijal says:

    Thank you for sharing superb information. Your wildland fire website is very cool. I’m impressed by the info that you’ve on this site. It reveals how nicely you understand this subject. Bookmarked this website page, will come back for extra articles.

  6. Lance Soterion says:

    I read a book about this fire in 1992. I forget the name of the book,but I remember wondering why the west coast had so much smoke in May.

Leave a Reply

logo
logo
Powered by Wordpress | Designed by Elegant Themes