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    Moscow shrouded by smog due to forest fires


    by ODN


    Acrid smoke from forest and peat fires, worsened by record high temperatures, have shrouded Moscow in smog.

    The Ministry for Civil Defence, Emergencies and Elimination of Consequences of Natural Disasters said 21 fires across 42 acres were burning in the region.

    Russian news agency Itar-Tass said fire-fighting planes had managed to put out blazes on around 29 acres of land over the weekend.

    As a result, the Russian capital has been shrouded in a fog, causing breathing difficulties for many residents.

    Itar-Tass reported that the smoke had reduced visibility in parts of the city to below 300-500 metres, and was disrupting traffic, with situation in the south, southeast and east of the city the worst.

    In Moscow's outskirts, crops have been destroyed by the fires, causing huge financial losses to farmers. Wildlife has also been affected.

    The worst affected areas have not seen any rain since May. In the Nizhegorodskaya province, near the Volga river, forest fires engulfed several villages, and had to be evacuated.

    The weather forecast brings no comfort to heat-tormented Muscovites and millions of people in Russia. Meteorologists expect temperatures to rise up to 39 degrees Celsius on Thursday.