Thick smog from wildfires blankets Moscow
A heavy smog from the wildfires burning in the countryside around Moscow was blanketing the Russian capital on Wednesday as the emergency services struggled to extinguish the blazes.
Visibility in the city centre was only 300 metres in the early morning, with the tops of the wedding-cake Stalin-era skyscrapers and the golden onion domes of churches invisible from a distance.
The situation in the outlying suburbs was even worse with visibility no better than 20 metres in some areas in the eastern region, the RIA Novosti news agency reported. However the capital's airports were working normally.
The smell of smoke could even be detected inside the metro and office buildings, AFP correspondents said.
Dozens of new wildfires hit the Moscow region in the past day as firefighters struggled to come to grips with the situation amid a relentless heatwave.
Forecasters warned that record temperatures were going to continue in the coming days, with no rain forecast and the mercury expected to hit 38 degrees Celsius (over 100 degrees Fahrenheit) in Moscow this week.
© 2010 AFP