Russia lifts fire emergency in three regions, weather cools
Russia on Friday reported further success in containing the fires that ravaged the country for weeks as temperatures in Moscow plunged to 10 degrees Celsius, following its worst ever heatwave.
"President (Dmitry Medvedev) has ordered the lifting of the state of emergency in the Nizhny Novgorod and Moscow regions as well as Mordovia," the Kremlin said in a statement.
The situation in Nizhny Novgorod and Mordovia has caused major concern as fires had raged close to Russia's main nuclear research centre in the town of Sarov, which lies close to the administrative border of the two regions.
The state of emergency remains in the Ryazan region due to "a complicated situation related to peat bog fires," the statement said.
"The situation has practically normalised," President Dmitry Medvedev said on a visit to Armenia, in comments broadcast on state television.
Russia had introduced the state of emergency in seven regions and Medvedev last week lifted the state of emergency in Vladimir, Voronezh and Marii El regions.
The emergencies ministry said 288 fires covering an area of just over 9,000 hectares (22,200 acres) were still burning across Russia, down from 313 fires over an area of 11,200 hectares the day earlier.
At the peak of the crisis, some 200,000 hectares of land had been ablaze in forest and peat bog fires that killed over 50 people.
Russians in Moscow were meanwhile shivering from cold as temperatures in the city plunged to 10 degrees Celsius (50 F) Friday morning, a stark contrast to the numbers edging almost 40 degrees recorded the week earlier.
"Temperatures will go up but not by much," Tatyana Pozdnyakova, chief specialist with the Moscow Weather Bureau, told AFP.
"There has been an inflow of the cold Arctic air, that is why the temperatures are so low."
Temperatures would increase to 14-15 degrees Celsius later in the day and will also fluctuate until the end of the month, Pozdnyakova added.
© 2010 AFP