Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Russia halves fires area as weather chills

Terra Daily via Agence France-Presse: Russia on Tuesday claimed to have reduced by half the area ablaze from its worst ever wildfires and averted any threat to a nuclear facility as a record heatwave finally relented. Officials said the danger from a fire raging in a nature reserve close to Russia's biggest nuclear research centre had ebbed and troops who had been brought in to fight the blaze would be withdrawn.

Temperatures in Moscow, which edged 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit) last week, were back down in the mid-20s after the heatwave triggered a nationwide crisis and destroyed a quarter of the country's crops.

The emergencies ministry said in a statement that the area ablaze in peat or forest fires nationwide had been cut to 22,700 hectares (56,000 acres) from 45,800 a day earlier. At the peak of the crisis, almost 200,000 hectares of land were on fire. "The situation with the wildfires has improved considerably," it said…

A view in the Kremlin, shot by Josef F. Stuefer, Wikimedia Commons via Flickr, under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license

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