Russian wildfires death toll rises to 48: ministry

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The death toll from the wildfires that have ravaged Russia has risen to 48, the emergencies ministry said Wednesday, adding that over 400 new fires were recorded in the last 24 hours.

The ministry said in a statement that over the past 24 hours 403 new forest fires had been recorded, while 293 fires had been extinguished over the same period.

It said that 520 forest fires were still raging in Russia, covering a total area of 188,525 hectares. The situation has deteriorated from Tuesday, when the total area was lower at 172,372 hectares.

Eight more bodies were found in burned down houses and "altogether 48 people have been killed" in the fires, it said.

© 2010 AFP

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