August 8th, 2010
07:04 AM ET

Wildfires hit Russia, Moscow chokes on smog

About 270 new wildfires have started in drought-plagued Russia over the past 24 hours, state media reported Sunday, citing the country's emergencies ministry.

"As many as 276 wildfires have been extinguished," the ministry told RIA-Novosti. "Currently, 554 wildfires are raging on an area of over 190,000 hectares."

The setback comes as Moscow chokes in intense smog, with toxic substances at levels several times greater than the norm. State media reports the combination of forest fires and pollutants contributed to the smog.

According to Russia's health and social development ministry, wildfires have killed at least 52 people and left dozens hospitalized.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev donated almost $12,000 of his personal funds to support people affected by wildfires raging across Central Russia, his website said Saturday.

Hundreds of passengers have been stranded due to delayed flights at the Domodedovo international airport in Moscow. Poor visibility caused by the wildfire smog has prevented airplanes from taking off, said airport officials quoted by the Itar-Tass news agency.

High temperatures in the past several weeks have caused a destructive drought as well as fires that changed the forecast for Russia's grain production.

The situation led the government to impose a temporary ban on exports of grain and grain products, said RIA-Novosti. The trade ban will go into effect August 15.

Moscow saw the worst air pollution of the year Saturday, state media reported. Carbon monoxide levels were more than six times the maximum allowable concentration, and other toxic substances permeated the city air at nine times the normal level.

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Filed under: Russia • Uncategorized
soundoff (4 Responses)
  1. Matti Viikate

    It would be good to get some equipments to stop those fires. That would be also good in economical way.

    August 8, 2010 at 9:11 am | Report abuse |
  2. Smith in Oregon

    t appears a rash of forest fires is also breaking out in and across Israel.

    The massive forest fires in and across Israel could be seen as a mixed blessing. Fewer Middle East people will be murdered as a result of this drop in Israel's very few natural resources. Fewer tree's would be torched during WW3 and pollute the Middle East's air.

    Sadly, those forest fires will likely be blamed on preselected black listed Palestinian family's that had nothing to do with the forest fires in order to bulldoze their homes and 'legally' steal their land and holdings.

    August 8, 2010 at 7:48 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Kiko.

    $12,000 of his own money[Pres. Medvedev], My goodness, that translates to RUB 362,460.27. IMHO, that speaks volumes to the level of generosity of those in positions of power in Russia. As it once was, and as it continues to be. ..Well done, Mr. Medvedev, I hope your country can overcome this national emergency. My own personal thoughts and prayers are with the Russian People xx

    August 11, 2010 at 11:09 pm | Report abuse |
  4. lol

    poor people T__T

    August 25, 2010 at 6:47 am | Report abuse |