Russian wildfires spread in new heatwave

28th July 2011, Comments 0 comments

The area covered by wildfires grew by 3,000 hectares to over 21,500 hectares over the past day as Russia battles to prevent a repeat of last year's deadly blazes, the emergencies ministry said Thursday.

Over the past day emergencies officials have managed to put out 148 fires covering the area of more than 4,000 hectares.

A total of 192 continued to burn across Russia, down from 220 registered on Wednesday, the emergencies ministry said.

Russia endured the worst heatwave in its recorded history last year when wildfires spread out of control, killing dozens, burning down thousands of houses and threatening military and nuclear installations.

Russians are struggling with a new heatwave although it is not as severe and appears to be waning, weather forecasters said. At 33.6 degrees Celsius, Wednesday was the hottest day since the start of the year in Moscow, said Fobos weather forecasting service.

"In many ways, the weather is reminiscent of the one last year," it said, adding however the heat was not as intense. By comparison, the temperatures stood at 35.7 degrees Celsius on July 27, 2010.

Thursday is expected to be the last day of suffocating heat in Central Russia, according to the Fobos forecasters. In Moscow, temperatures are expected to spike to between 33 and 35 degrees Celsius.

© 2011 AFP

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