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21 Aug, 2007 11:20

Can there be smoke where there's no fire? - Muscovites ask

Due to this year's hot dry summer forest fires are raging across Russia. Thousands of hectares have burnt since the summer began. With some quite close to the capital, Muscovites can already smell the smoke.

In the Far East, fires, already covering an area of almost 2,000 hectares, are gaining in strength.

In the Ryazan Region, which is much closer to Moscow, people have to keep their windows closed despite the heat in order to keep the smoke out.

“Causes include arson, camp fires, cigarette stubs – you name it. The forests are all dry; the temperature has been staying above 30 degrees centigrade for a number of days now. A spark would be enough to cause such a blaze,” said Nikolay Muzhikhov from the Ryazan Region Administration.

In Moscow, people are beginning to ask whether there can be smoke, where there is no fire?

“As of today, there are 27 blazes, all of them in the Vladimir and Ryazan Regions. The reason Moscow is covered with smoke is because the wind has changed. Wind from the South-East brings smoke here,” commented Vladimir Stepanov, Head of Emergencies Ministry Co-ordination Centre.

With several weeks to go before the fire season ends, Moscow can be in for more smoke.