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12 Aug, 2010 05:26

Fire battle continues as new wave of smoke expected in Moscow

Moscow is bracing itself for another uncomfortable cloud of smog. Experts warn that after a brief respite, a new wave of noxious smoke is likely to engulf the city.

While Muscovites are enjoying fresh air in the capital, a burst of new blazes is expected to come late Thursday and Friday. The new fires are expected to be less intense than other recent infernos.

Doctors predict a rise in respiratory diseases in the coming autumn and winter, as smoke and heat in the city have weakened peoples’ immune systems.

”During this month-and-a-half, when the body usually accumulates life resources, we have exhausted them,” chief doctor of the Russian Federation Gennady Onishchenko was quoted by Kommersant newspaper as saying. “We will not be able to avoid a seasonal rise in flu and respiratory diseases.”

Rescue teams from a number of countries, including Ukraine, Belarus, Latvia, the USA and France are helping Russia to extinguish raging blaze.

While for some in Russia, the destruction is already being swept away, for others it is sweeping towards them.

It has been Sergey’s job to protect one of the forests in Central Russia for years, but this summer has become his worst nightmare.

“The most dangerous thing is when the tree tops are burning and the flames move at an incredibly fast pace,” he told RT.

Thousands of volunteers have joined in to help fight the flames, widening fire breaks between damaged and unharmed trees and dampening the smoking earth.

“It has to be said the work we have been doing here helps the effort tremendously,”
Sergey added.

The battle has been going on for weeks with over 50 dead, hundreds injured, and thousands homeless.

While the struggle to contain the flames below continues, hundreds of tonnes of water are being dropped by emergency services every day by helicopters and specially adapted aircraft.

However, Sergey, who will still be here once the flames are finally put out, is scared there might not be much left to protect.