Russia has declared a state of emergency in seven of its 83 regions as wildfires continue to rage.
The worst heatwave in over a century has fuelled the blazes, but most are now under control according to Russia’s emergency ministry.
A renewed effort to contain the flames is, for the moment, succeeding, although the threat has increased sharply due to sweltering temperatures in a number of regions in the Central and Volga federal districts.
Firefighting is also being hampered by careless holidaymakers who have been blamed for a surge of new fires over the weekend.
Sergei Shoigu, Russia’s Emergencies Minister, said: “It’s hard to stop all mushroom and berry pickers, but we need to alert people to show them how to behave in the forest if they really have to be there. If not they will undo our week’s work every weekend.”
“People need to understand that they have to respect some safety regulations. The lives of entire villages and cities depends on their conduct on holiday,” he added.
Some 7,000 wildfires are currently burning in Russia over an area of more than half a million hectares.
The worst hit areas include Moscow, Ryazan and Nizhny Novgorod regions where more than 30 people have been killed and thousands more have been forced to leave their homes.