Death toll in Russian forest fires reaches 25: officials

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The death toll from forest fires sweeping across Russia amid a record-breaking heatwave grew to 25 on Friday, with three firefighters among the dead, officials said.

The bodies of six residents were discovered in the village of Mokhovoye in the Moscow region, news agencies reported, citing the emergency ministry.

The governor of the Ryazan region, one of those worst hit, said that three people had died in the region, in televised comments.

A fireman died in hospital from burns after fighting flames on Thursday in a village in the Lipetsk region, the chief doctor at the regional burns centre told the Itar-Tass news agency.

The bodies of nine people were found in the Nizhny Novgorod region, the emergency ministry said, updating a provisional toll announced earlier of two.

Earlier, the death of a fireman in the Moscow region and five deaths in the Voronezh region were reported.

The emergency ministry did not give a total toll for the whole of Russia.

Forest fires swept through central Russia amid a record heatwave that has led to droughts in 23 regions and seen the temperature in Moscow hit an all-time record of 38.2 degrees celsius.

© 2010 AFP

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