Cooler weather tames Russia fires

As a record heatwave retreated, replaced by torrential rain and winds, Russia on Tuesday claimed to have halved the area still alight following its worst ever wildfires.


Temperatures in Moscow, which edged 40 degrees Celsius last week, were back down in the mid-20s following the heatwave that triggered a nationwide crisis and destroyed a quarter of the country's crops.

The emergencies ministry said in a statement that the area ablaze in peat or forest fires nationwide had been cut to by half in the last 24 hours.

At the peak of the crisis, almost 200,000 hectares of land were on fire.

The situation around Russia's main nuclear research centre in the town of Sarov had also regressed, with a forest fire nearby no longer posing a threat to the facility.

The capital had in recent days been blanketed in an acrid smog from the wildfires which raised the alarm for the health of its residents.

The smog has now lifted but the air Tuesday still smelled of smoke. The poor air quality will improve as the weather changes over the next days according to forecasters.

The fires and heatwave have triggered a major crisis in Russia affecting nearly all areas of life, in particular the agriculture industry.


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